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Gabrielle Hecht

Gabrielle Hecht

Professor of History
Frank Stanton Foundation Professor of Nuclear Security
Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute
Field: 
Africa
History of Science
Ph.D, University of Pennsylvania
M.A., University of Pennsylvania
S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Gabrielle Hecht is the Frank Stanton Foundation Professor of Nuclear Security, Professor of History, and a Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute.

Hecht’s most recent monograph, Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade (MIT Press, 2012) offers new perspectives on the global nuclear order by focusing on African uranium mines and miners. It received several awards for its contributions to African history, science and technology studies, and the humanities. An abridged version appeared in French as Uranium Africain, une histoire globale (Le Seuil, 2016). Hecht’s first book, The Radiance of France: Nuclear Power and National Identity (MIT Press 1998, 2nd edition 2009), explores how the French embedded nuclear policy in reactor technology, and nuclear culture in reactor operations. It received awards in French history and the history of technology, and appeared in French as Le rayonnement de la France: Énergie nucléaire et identité nationale après la seconde guerre mondiale (La Découverte, 2004; republished by Éditions Amsterdam, 2014). She is also the editor of Entangled Geographies: Empire and Technopolitics in the Global Cold War (MIT Press,2011)

Hecht is currently writing a series of essays on radioactive and other forms of waste, tentatively titled Toxic Tales from the African Anthropocene. She is also beginning a book on technology and power in Africa, under contract to Cambridge University Press.

Hecht taught in Stanford’s History department at the beginning of her academic career. Before returning in 2017, she taught at the University of Michigan’s History department. She helped to found and direct UM’s Program in Science, Technology, and Society (STS), and served as associate director of the African Studies Center there. She remains an active participant in UM’s collaborative project with the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (South Africa) on Joining Theory and Empiricism in the remaking of the African Humanities. Hecht has supervised dissertations in African history and anthropology, science and technology studies, nuclear studies, and French history; please see her CV for a complete list of dissertations, and the current positions held by her students.

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. Hecht’s 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 has been interviewed for several documentary films, as well as by print and broadcast media in North America, Europe, and Africa.

Selected Publications & Projects

Gabrielle Hecht
Pamila Gupta
Planet Earth has entered the time of the Anthropocene. For natural scientists, this means that human activity, taken as a whole, has come to rival...
Gabrielle Hecht
The Cold War was not simply a duel of superpowers. It took place not just in Washington and Moscow but also in the social and political arenas of...
Gabrielle Hecht
Uranium from Africa has long been a major source of fuel for nuclear power and atomic weapons, including the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. In 2003,...