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

December 4, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm  |  Engineering 2, Room 599


Co-authors Neda Atanasoski (UCSC Feminist Studies, CRES) and Kalindi Vora (UC Davis Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies) will present on their new book Surrogate Humanity: Race, Robots, and the Politics of Technological Futures (Duke University Press, March 2019), with responses by CRES Director Christine Hong and SJRC Director Jenny Reardon. A dessert reception will follow.

Book Description

In Surrogate Humanity, Neda Atanasoski and Kalindi Vora trace the ways in which robots, artificial intelligence, and other technologies serve as surrogates for human workers within a labor system entrenched in racial capitalism and patriarchy. Analyzing myriad technologies, from sex robots and military drones to sharing economy platforms, Atanasoski and Vora show how liberal structures of antiblackness, settler colonialism, and patriarchy are fundamental to human-machine interactions as well as the very definition of the human. While these new technologies and engineering projects promise a revolutionary new future, they replicate and reinforce racialized and gendered ideas about devalued work, exploitation, dispossession, and capitalist accumulation. Yet, even as engineers design robots to be more perfect versions of the human—more rational killers, more efficient workers, and tireless companions—the potential exists to develop alternative modes of engineering and technological development in ways that refuse the racial and colonial logics that maintain social hierarchies and inequality.


Neda Atanasoski HeadshotNeda Atanasoski is Professor of Feminist Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and author of Humanitarian Violence: The U.S. Deployment of Diversity.



Kalindi Vora HeadshotKalindi Vora is Associate Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at the University of California, Davis, and author of Life Support: Biocapital and the New History of Outsourced Labor.



Hosted by the Science & Justice Research Center. Co-Sponsored by Critical Race and Ethnic Studies and The Humanities Institute.


December 4, 2019
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Engineering 2, Room 599
Engineering 2, 1156 High St‎ University of California Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, CA 95064 United States