Dr Kathleen Richardson
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Anthropology
University College London
14 Taviton St
London WC1H OBW
+44 (0) 2076798781
My postdoctoral research will be a study of special kinds of robots for the therapeutic assistance for children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). These robots are termed social and humanoid. Robotic machines and persons with ASD are said to lack social capacities – yet I will follow their interactions in the clinical and lab spaces in the UK and US. Studies have suggested that the mere presence of a humanoid robot can enhance the social capacities of persons with ASD. This presents an interesting issue for anthropological theorizing of the social – what does it mean to be social? Who or what can or cannot be said to have it?
My British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship builds on research completed for my PhD in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge where I studied the making of human-like and social robots at MIT. And for the last two years I have also conducted research on social networking particularly Facebook.
I completed my doctoral studies in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge and conducted fieldwork in robotics labs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). My thesis, 'Annihilating Difference? Robots and Building Design at MIT' examined relationalities between humans and nonhumans through a study of robots and buildings on the MIT campus.
I am alumni of Corpus Christi College.
More About Me
In May 2006, I produced the play R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots)
written by Karel Čapek (1921) and the source of the first robots.
I am also a freelance writer and have contributed to a number of publications including The New Scientist and The Times Higher Educational Supplement.
I conducted fieldwork on Facebook and continue to develop work in this area. was BT-sponsored and examined how users construct and organize their
sociality through online social networking technologies. I am also a keen amateur photographer.
I am really going to get round to updating this site as soon as I get a chance! In the meantime you can read some of my published articles on robotics and popular culture below.
Please get in touch if you have any questions or would like further information regarding my research.
ARTICLES AND REVIEWS
SELECTED PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT
SELECTED CONFERENCE TALKS
IN THE PRESS
PAST PROJECTS AND MORE INFORMATION