I gave a talk recently at the Center for Cultural Studies at the University of California at Santa Cruz. It was a great honor to be invited to present my work, and the discussion after the talk was lively and inspiring, with faculty and students from the departments of Literature, History of Consciousness, Film & Digital Media, Computer Science, Anthropology, and Political Science.
The talk was titled “Robots and Slaves: History, Allegory, and the Structural Logic of the Robot Story.”
Focusing on science fiction stories and films that present robots as servants or slaves, this excerpt from my book brings a historical and theoretical perspective to the familiar depictions of robotic servants. We have many cultural fantasies of robotic labor, so in this talk I explored the relationship between science fictional robotic slavery and the historical legacies of slavery in the West.
In addition to the talk, I conducted a seminar with graduate students later that day, and since they had already read some of the chapters from my book we were able to move the discussion to new directions. It was wonderful. Just great fun, and a great launch for this project!