School of Humanities and Sciences
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Stanton Foundation Professor of Nuclear Security and Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies
BioGabrielle Hecht is the Frank Stanton Foundation Professor of Nuclear Security at CISAC, Senior Fellow at FSI, Professor of History, and Professor (by courtesy) of Anthropology.
Her current research explores radioactive residues, mine waste, air pollution, and the Anthropocene in Africa. These interests are coalescing into a series of essays, provisionally titled Inside-Out Earth: Residual Governance Under Extreme Conditions. The first of these have appeared in Cultural Anthropology, Aeon, Somatosphere, the LA Review of Books, and e-fluxArchitecture.
Hecht's graduate courses include colloquia on Infrastructure and Power in the Global South, Technopolitics, and Materiality and Power. In Winter 2020 she developed a community-engaged undergraduate research seminar on Nuclear Insecurity in the Bay Area and Beyond, in partnership with the Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates (BVHPCA). She is currently working with BVHPCA and other partners to develop knowledge infrastructures to underpin community-driven public history that supports racial equity and environmental justice.
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/ 2nd ed 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).
Her affiliations at Stanford include the Center for African Studies, the Program in Science, Technology, and Society, the Center for Global Ethnography, the Program on Urban Studies, and the Program in Modern Thought and Literature. 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.
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.
Senior Lecturer of Sociology
Current Research and Scholarly Interests19th and 20th Century Urban and Social History; Street Life; Urban Space