Gabrielle Hecht is the Frank Stanton Foundation Professor of Nuclear Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, where she is also Professor of History, Professor (by courtesy) of Anthropology, and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute.
Her current research explores radioactive residues, mine waste, air pollution, and the Anthropocene in Africa. Essays on these themes have appeared in Cultural Anthropology, Aeon, Somatosphere, the LA Review of Books, and elsewhere. Her current book projects include Residual Governance: How South Africa Predicts Planetary Futures and The Inside-Out Earth.
Graduate courses include colloquia on Infrastructure and Power in the Global South and Technopolitics: Power, Materiality, Theory, and a research seminar on Materialities of Power. Her undergraduate course on Nuclear Insecurity in the Bay Area and Beyond emerged in collaboration with Stanford’s Haas Center for Public Service and the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, and with considerable research by Kevin Chen.
Hecht’s 2012 book Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade offers new perspectives on the global nuclear order by focusing on African uranium mines and miners. It received awards from the Society for the Social Studies of Science, the American Historical Association, the American Sociological Association, and the Suzanne M. Glasscock Humanities Institute, as well as an honorable mention from the African Studies Association. An abridged version appeared in French as Uranium Africain, une histoire globale (Le Seuil 2016), and a Japanese translation is due out in 2021. Her first book, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity (1998/2009), explores how the French embedded nuclear policy in reactor technology, and nuclear culture in reactor operations. It received awards from the American Historical Association and the Society for the History of Technology, and has appeared in French as Le rayonnement de la France: Énergie nucléaire et identité nationale après la seconde guerre mondiale (2004/ 2014).
Before rejoining Stanford in 2017, Hecht taught at the University of Michigan’s History department for eighteen years. She helped to found and direct UM’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS). She served as associate director of UM’s African Studies Center, and participated in its long-term collaboration with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (South Africa). She has supervised dissertations in STS, African history and anthropology, nuclear studies, and French history.
Gabrielle Hecht holds a PhD in History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania (1992), and a bachelor’s degree in Physics from MIT (1986). She’s been a visiting scholar in universities in Australia, France, the Netherlands, Norway, South Africa, and Sweden. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council for Learned Societies, and the South African and Dutch national research foundations, among others. She serves on numerous advisory boards, including for the Andra, France’s national radioactive waste management agency.