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World Languages and Literatures

Origins and Development of Robot Fiction

Date: 6:00pm PDT October 25, 2012 Location: JRHH 122

JRHH 122

 A presentation by Professor Pere Gallardo Torrano, Associate Professor of English, Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Tarragona (Spain)


Robots are science fiction prompts but also cultural icons. They have populated SF texts and movies for such a long time, they hardly trigger any emotional effects any more. Likewise, actual robots (i.e. Honda’s Asimo) tend to be regarded by the general public as little else than technological curiosities or entertainment freaks. However, the traditional image of the robot (the metal humanoid) is not a spontaneous literary outgrowth. Actually, the literary, artistic, and cultural renderings of the robot are to be found in myth, religion, folklore, alchemy and the tradition of clockwork-making.

This talk will delve into these elements in an attempt to show that, despite its pretended modernity, robots are fictional constructs firmly rooted in Western culture.


Sponsored by:  Latin American Studies, Hispanic Studies, Rhetoric and Media Studies, and Department of English

World Languages and Literatures

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