Defining the Robot Other

My role: principal researcher (2010-)

Status: This project is ongoing. Collaborators welcome.

Summary

My investigations into the archetype of the other as depicted by artificial and constructed beings in literature and popular culture, or robot other,  represents one of my most abiding research interests. The study began modestly through qualitative coding of Asimov’s robot stories (using XML, and later visualized using Voyant’s Mandala Browser), in which I explored the assignment of emotion to robot characters in the source texts, in relation to narrator and protagonists. This research was then expanded to a survey of the figure of the robot other in proto science fiction. Most recently, I presented and published an introduction to the robot other that samples representations of the archetype from Spenser’s Faerie Queene to Ronald Moore’s Battlestar Galactica. 

Funding

I was awarded the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Education Myer Horowitz Graduate Student Travel Award in order to present this research at the 7th Global Conference: Visions of Humanity in Cyberculture, Cyberspace and Science Fiction.

Publications

Rise of the Robot: A Historical Perspective on the Evolution of the Robot Other in Literature. Navigating Cybercultures, ed. Nicholas Van Orden, Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2013. [Link] [PDF]
Presented at the 7th Global Conference: Visions of Humanity in Cyberculture, Cyberspace and Science Fiction, Mansfield College, Oxford, UK, July 17, 2012. [Link] [PDF – Handout]

Proto Science Fiction and the Robot Other. HuCon 2011, Humanities Computing Graduate Student Conference, University of Alberta, March 11, 2011. [PDF]

Reflecting on the Robot: Visualizing Emotion and Otherness in Asimov’s ‘Robot Stories’. Panel: The Representation of Emotion using the Mandala Browser (Stan Ruecker). Society for Digital Humanities (SDH/SEMI) Annual Meeting, June 1, 2010.

Meditating on the Robot: Analysis of Asimov’s ‘Robot Stories’ Using the Mandala Browser. HuCon 2010, Humanities Computing Graduate Student Conference, University of Alberta, February 26, 2010. [Link – Full Paper] [PDF]