February 10, 2006
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.—Despina Kakoudaki, assistant professor of visual and environmental studies and of comparative literature at Harvard University, will speak on “Becoming Human: Robots, Identity and Civil Rights,” at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20, in Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Sponsored by the Croxton Lectureship, the President’s Office and the Working Group on Culture and Politics, this lecture is free and open to the public.

At Harvard Kakoudaki teaches interdisciplinary courses in literature and film, visual culture and the history of technology and new media. Her interests include cultural studies, science fiction, apocalyptic narratives and the representation of race and gender. She has received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities for her forthcoming book, The Human Machine: A Cultural History of Artificial People, which traces the history and cultural function of constructed people and animated objects. Kakoudaki received a Ph.D. degree from the University of California at Berkeley, where she taught film studies. Her recent work includes publications on cyborgs, race and melodrama in disaster films, body transformation and technology in early film, the political role of the pin-up in World War II and the representation of the archive in postmodern fiction.