Shortly after he completed his Ph.D., Hecht’s dissertation on Brazilian street children was published by Cambridge University Press, subsequently winning the Margaret Mead Prize. That volume was followed by the edited work, Minor Omissions, a reconsideration of Latin American history, society, and art through the lives of children. His ethnographic novel After Life was inspired by a decade of conversations with a homeless Brazilian youth. Hecht has also published numerous works of literary translation and short fiction, a “traveler’s companion” to South African literature and, recently, his first book of children’s literature.
A specialist in the anthropology of childhood, Hecht’s areas of interest include ethnographic writing, qualitative research methods, renewable energy, gender and sexuality, medical anthropology (particularly hunger, infant mortality, and psychiatry), the lived experience of inequality, and the anthropology of higher education.
His research has been supported by Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Simon Population Trust, the Pan American Health Organization, and the Cambridge Overseas Trust. Writing in Spanish, he won second prize in the Hucha de Oro; until recently discontinued, this was the world’s most competitive and best endowed contest for a single work of short fiction.