Chris Fite (History and Sociology of Science): "Queer Encounters in the Garden: Meeting the Polyamorous Christ in a Popular Protestant Hymn"
Jasmine Erdener (Communication): "From Puppet to Robot: Excavating Radical Futures"
This project examines robots and artificial intelligence, both in popular culture and in the types of technologies that are created and built. Popular representations of robots and current models for new technology are premised upon the idea of these technological objects as servants or slaves, and often reproduce dominant (human) power structures, particularly around gender and race. Puppetry theory offers new ways to imagine, create, and use technology. Puppeteers have an entirely different approach to the material world and negotiate a relationship (rather than attempting to dominate) the material world and the non-human objects in it. In addition, puppetry as a subversive, unruly medium, with a long history of radical political power, is also latent in robots and artificial intelligence, challenging not only how humans imagine or interpret them, but what it might mean for these objects to behave in ways that humans cannot entirely control or predict.
Finally, by drawing from other sources of inspiration like puppetry, Afro-futurism, or feminist speculative fiction, in the tradition of the symbiotic relationship between science fiction and technological innovations, we could change the types of technology we build, who we build them for, and what they might do.