UCL Anthropology


Kathleen Richardson

Kathleen with PR2

Kathleen with PR2

Tel: +44(0)20 7679 8651

Email: kathleen.richardson@ucl.ac.uk

Website: coming soon

PhD Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, 2008British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow

Research Interests

Kathleen Richardson's 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?

Kathleen's British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship builds on research completed for her PhD in the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge where she studied the making of human-like and social robots at MIT. And for the last two years has also conducted research on social networking particularly Facebook.

Eva, designed by David Hanson

Eva, designed by David Hanson
© Kathleen Richardson


Book Chapters

2002. "Communicating Environmentalism in Amazonia." In C. Gandelsonas, ed. Communicating Development. Intermediate Technology Publishing: London.

Journal Articles

2010 Disabling as Mimesis and Alterity: Making Humanoid Robots at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Etnofoor, Imitation, September 2010, volume 22, issue 1, 2010, pp. 75-90

2009 "Archiving the Self? Facebook as biography of social and relational memory". Richardson, K and S, Hessey. Journal of Information, Communication & Ethics in Society. 2009 Volume 7. Issue 1. Pp. 25 - 38 Troubador Publishing Ltd.

Book Reviews

2009 "All Tomorrow's Cultures: Anthropological Engagements with the Future" by Samuel Gerald Collins. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 15, 409-455

Educational and Science Media Writing

2009 "Reinventing the diary? Facebook and the mapping of social relationships" Cambridge Alumni Magazine (Feb)

2008   "The Fact and Fiction of Robots" E&T Magazine. The Institution of Engineering and Technology.

2007   "My Friend the Robot." The Times Higher Educational Supplement (Feb 26)

2006    Let's play nicely together, shall we? The Times Higher Educational Supplement (Feb 24)

2006   "Artificial Paradise? Our Future with Social Robots." Research Horizons. Issue 1. Cambridge

Dr Kathleen Richardson
British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Anthropology
Room 146
University College London
14 Taviton St
London WC1H OBW
+44 (0)20 7679 8651