Bio


Gabrielle 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 elsewhere.

New graduate courses include colloquia on Infrastructure and Power in the Global South and Technopolitics: Power, Materiality, Theory. She has also pioneered an undergraduate research seminar on Nuclear Insecurity in the Bay Area and Beyond. First offered in Winter 2020, this is a Cardinal Course developed in collaboration with the 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/ 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.

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.

Academic Appointments


Program Affiliations


  • Center for African Studies
  • Modern Thought and Literature
  • Program in History & Philosophy of Science
  • Program on Urban Studies
  • Science, Technology and Society

2019-20 Courses


Stanford Advisees


  • Doctoral Dissertation Reader (AC)
    Rebecca Gruskin, Rebecca Wall
  • Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
    Maxime Polleri
  • Doctoral (Program)
    Kyle Harmse, Wallace Teska, Caryce Tirop
  • Postdoctoral Research Mentor
    Maxime Polleri

All Publications


  • INTERSCALAR VEHICLES FOR AN AFRICAN ANTHROPOCENE: On Waste, Temporality, and Violence CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY Hecht, G. 2018; 33 (1): 109–41

    View details for DOI 10.14506/ca33.1.05

    View details for Web of Science ID 000427245700005

  • Residue Somatosphere Hecht, G. 2018
  • Uranium Africain, une histoire globale Hecht, G. Editions du Seuil. 2016
  • AHR Conversation History after the End of History: Reconceptualizing the Twentieth Century AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW Goswami, M., Hecht, G., Khalid, A., Krylova, A., Thompson, E. F., Zatlin, J. R., Zimmerman, A. 2016
  • Does Africa Really Want Yesterday's Future The African Technopolitan Hecht, G. 2015
  • Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade Hecht, G. MIT Press. 2014
  • Radioactive Excess: Modernization as Spectacle and Betrayal in Postcolonial Gabon Modernization as Spectacle in Africa Hecht, G., Manuh, T. edited by Bloom, P. J., Miescher , S. F. 2014
  • Nuclear Janitors: Contract Workers at the Fukushima Reactors and Beyond The Asia-Pacific Journal Hecht, G. 2013; 11 (1)
  • The Work of Invisibility: Radiation Hazards and Occupational Health in South African Uranium Production INTERNATIONAL LABOR AND WORKING-CLASS HISTORY Hecht, G. 2012: 94-113
  • An elemental force: Uranium production in Africa, and what it means to be nuclear BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS Hecht, G. 2012; 68 (2): 22-33
  • Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War edited by Hecht, G. MIT Press. 2011
  • History and the Technopolitics of Identity: The Case of Apartheid South Africa JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN AFRICAN STUDIES Edwards, P. N., Hecht, G. 2010; 36 (3): 619-639
  • History and the Technopolitics of Identity: The Case of Apartheid South Africa Journal of Southern African Studies Edwards, P., Hecht , G. 2010; 36 (3)
  • The Technopolitics of Cold War: Through a Transregional Perspective Essays on Twentieth-Century History Hecht, G., Edwards, P. 2010
  • HOPES FOR THE RADIATED BODY: URANIUM MINERS AND TRANSNATIONAL TECHNOPOLITICS IN NAMIBIA JOURNAL OF AFRICAN HISTORY Hecht, G. 2010; 51 (2): 213-234
  • Africa and the Nuclear World: Labor, Occupational Health, and the Transnational Production of Uranium COMPARATIVE STUDIES IN SOCIETY AND HISTORY Hecht, G. 2009; 51 (4): 896-926
  • The Radiance of France, New Edition: Nuclear Power and National Identity after World War II Hecht, G. MIT Press. 2009
  • Le Rayonnement de la France: énergie nucléaire et identité nationale après la Seconde Guerre mondiale Hecht, G. MIT Press. 2009
  • A Cosmogram for Nuclear Things Isis Hecht, G. 2007; 98: 100-108
  • Negotiating Global Nuclearities: Apartheid, Decolonization, and the Cold War in the Making of the IAEA Osiris Hecht, G. 2006; 21 (1): 25-48
  • Nuclear Ontologies Constellations Hecht, G. 2006; 13 (3)
  • Globalization meets frankenstein? Reflections on terrorism, nuclearity, and global technopolitical discourse History and Technology Hecht, G. 2003; 19 (1)
  • Rupture-Talk in the Nuclear Age: Conjugating Colonial Power in Africa Social Studies of Science Hecht , G. 2002; 32 (5-6): 691–727
  • Technology, Politics, and National Identity in France Technologies of Power: Essays in Honor of Thomas Parke Hughes and Agatha Chipley Hughes Hecht, G. edited by Allen, M. T. 2001