Competition: US & Canada
Gabrielle Hecht is an undisciplined historian of technology who ponders waste, world-ending, and toxic things. Her new book, Residual Governance: How South Africa Foretells Planetary Futures (Duke, 2023), examines the twinned residues of mining and racial capitalism in South Africa’s largest metropolis.
Hecht’s Guggenheim project builds on this, exploring the wastes produced by turning the Earth inside out in search of modernity’s minerals. It focuses on places and substances at the frontlines of the inside-out Earth: coal in the Arctic, diesel in urban West Africa, uranium in southern Africa, and lithium in Chile. Seen from these places, energy systems are accumulating rather than “transitioning.” How does residual governance operate on these frontlines, and how do people live with (and in) the resulting wastes? Hecht is currently President of the Society for the History of Technology. She is Professor of History and (by courtesy) Anthropology at Stanford University, where she is also Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute. Her previous books include Being Nuclear (MIT, 2012) and The Radiance of France (MIT, 1998/2009). Translated into nine languages, Hecht’s work has received awards in the fields of history of technology, science & technology studies, African studies, European history, sociology, and anthropology.