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Surrogate Humanity: Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures

Monday, March 18, 2019 at 4:30pm

A.D. White House

Abstract: Based on our co-authored book project, “Surrogate Humanity,” this talk elaborates what we call the surrogate human effect in the engineering, political, and cultural imaginaries behind recent developments in social, industrial, and military robotics. We extend a critical ethnic studies analytic to include the raced and gendered social relations between bodies, both machine and human, that are not recognizably racialized. We argue that these relations, too, are part of the fabric of racial liberalism in which practices of reducing the humanity of (racialized) others functions to prop up our recognition of what counts as human, and what makes us feel human. Tracking the surrogate human effect allows us to expose how a seemingly neutral technological modernity is in fact infused with the racial, gender, and sexual politics of political modernity, based as they are in racial slavery, colonial conquest and genocide. 

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Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Computer Science, Science and Technology Studies, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Studies


cascal, CALScom, sts, fgsscal, lgbtstudiescal, cosochum, casfeatured

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Aidan Kelly

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Kalinda Vora and Neda Atanasoski

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