Thea Riofrancos is an associate professor of political science at Providence College and a 2020 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Her research focuses on resource extraction, renewable energy, climate change, green technology, social movements, and the left in Latin America. These themes are explored in her book, Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador (Duke University Press, 2020), as well as in peer-reviewed articles in Cultural Studies, Perspectives on Politics, and World Politics and in essays that have appeared in the Baffler, Boston Review, Dissent, the Guardian, Jacobin, n+1, and the New York Times, among others.
Riofrancos’s current project, “Brine to Batteries: The Extractive Frontiers of the Global Energy Transition,” explores the politics of the transition to renewable energy through the lens of one of its key technologies: lithium batteries. Based on multisited fieldwork following lithium’s global supply chains from the point of extraction in the Chilean desert, “Brine to Batteries” will be the first scholarly account of the rapidly moving processes shaping the contours of the next energy system—and those of our planetary future.
Previously, Riofrancos was a visiting researcher at the Núcleo Milenio de Investigación en Energía y Sociedad, in Santiago, Chile; a visiting fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, at the University of Notre Dame; and a visiting researcher at the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Ecuador. She earned her PhD in political science at the University of Pennsylvania.