Gabrielle Hecht

Cite as:

Okune, Angela. 2018. "Gabrielle Hecht." In STS in "Africa" Personal Careers. In STS in "Africa" in Formation, created by Angela Okune and Aadita Chaudhury. In STS Across Borders Digital Exhibit, curated by Aalok Khandekar and Kim Fortun. Society for Social Studies of Science. August.


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. 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.

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 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).

This PECE essay helps to answer the STS Across Borders analytic question: “What people, projects, and products exemplify how this STS formation has developed over time?”

This essay highlights prominant and upcoming individuals working on critical science and technology issues in Africa and is part of a broader exhibit on "STS in Africa."

STS Across Borders In Brief

STS Across Borders is a special exhibit organized by the Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) to showcase how the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS) has developed in different times, places...Read more

Hecht, Gabrielle. 2012. Being Nuclear: Africans and the Global Uranium Trade.

Abstract: "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, after the infamous “yellow cake from Niger,” Africa suddenly became notorious as a source of uranium, a component of nuclear...Read more