Website banner olain books.jpg

Research

 

My research areas include Science Fiction, Computer History, Feminist & Queer Media Studies, and American Cultural History.

 
Computers Voice Cover.jpg

The Computer's Voice: From Star Trek to Siri

University of Minnesota Press, 2020

Considering Star Trek2001: A Space OdysseyHer, and more, this book explores contentious questions around gender: its fundamental constructedness, the rigidity of the gender binary, and culturally situated attitudes on male and female embodiment. Going beyond current scholarship on robots and AI to focus on voice-interactive computers, The Computer’s Voice breaks new ground in questions surrounding media, technology, and gender.

 
page-1-scaled.jpg

Special Issue of Popular Culture Studies Journal on Robots & Labor

Guest Editor

[A]s the essays in this special issue demonstrate, fictional robots are often not just robots; rather, they are also metaphorical portraits of humans, representative of the ways we build systems of oppression and dehumanization. The essays presented here offer a broad array of pop culture research on robots and labor, including analyses of literature, film, television, video games, advertising, music, and fan culture. Using a range of methods and theoretical frameworks, the contributors stretch the definition of labor to include not just the literal workforce but also emotional labor, semantic labor, and the labor of birth. Throughout, they uncover new ideas about humanity’s fraught relationships with technology as well as humanity itself. I have organized these fifteen essays around broad categorizations of analysis: we begin with a theory-driven reflection on robots and labor, followed by six different cultural histories, five in-depth case studies, and finally two essays on artificial intelligence as both production and producer.

 

Journal Articles & Book Chapters

As%20Kuromon%20Market%20in%20Osaka%20was%20about%20to%20close%20for%20the%20evening%20I%20sampled%20

Augmenting Human Pedagogy: A Cultural History of Automation in Teaching

Popular Culture Studies Journal 

2021

LATE%20NIGHT_edited.jpg

Networking the Counterculture: The 1970 Alternative Media Conference at Goddard College (with co-author John L. Hochheimer)

Journal of Radio and Audio Media
2016

Image by Bookblock

This Aura Sucks:  Narrative Cinema and Popular Poetry Critique in So I Married an Axe Murderer

Verse, Voice, & Vision

Scarecrow Press, 2013

Image by David Dibert

Kitchen Sink, or The Postmodern Prometheus: Alison Maclean’s Reimagining of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein Via the Cinematic Horror Genre

Short Film Studies

2011

Earth from Spaceship

Sex and the Single Spaceship: Reproduction and Representation in Stargate: SG-1, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Farscape

Under Review

Not Yet Available
 

Selected Conference Presentations

Image by Michael Dziedzic

Reboot and Rebirth: Artificial Intelligence and Spiritual Existence in The Good Place

PCA/ACA 2021
Virtual

Available Soon
Image by Michael Dziedzic

’You Were Dirty If You Looked Different’: Black Robots, Intersectional Feminism, and Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer

*CONFERENCE CANCELED*
PCA/ACA 2020
Philadelphia, PA

Available Soon
Image by Jesse Chan

When Robots Choose to Die: A Survey of Robot Suicide in Science Fiction

PCA/ACA 2019
Washington, DC

Futuristic Tunnel

Mother-Ships: Reproduction and Representation in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Stargate SG1, and Farscape

SCMS 2016
Chicago, IL