Morgane A. Ghilardi is a Research and Teaching Assistant to Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Bronfen. She holds a B.A. in English Literature and Linguistics, Hermeneutics, and Film Studies as well as a M.A. in Gender Studies and English Literature from the University of Zurich. In 2016, she completed her MA thesis titled Do Androids Dream of Sex? Gender, Desire, and Power in the Representation of Androids and Artificial Intelligence in Her, Automata, & Ex Machina.
Alongside her studies, she worked in media monitoring; as a B.A. tutor for the module Language Skills & Culture; and, as an UZH administrative assistant. She was part of the Filmstelle VSETH team, and has also had the opportunity to lead the student organizations SCORE and FAVA. Currently, she is also active as a freelance culture writer, mostly on the subject of film, TV, and video games.
As a continuation of her M.A. thesis, Morgane's PhD thesis focuses on the complex and meaningful ways in which technology and gender intersect, and how these crossings are represented in various cultural texts, paying special attention to robots and artificial intelligence, which had a place in our imagination long before they were within our reach. In her cybercultural research, Morgane delves into the liminal dimensions between human and machine, especially with regard to aspects of gender, desire, and power.
Cultural imagination and technoscientific research are very much interlinked; the science and industries that create artificial entities are not genderless, not free of desire, and neither are its products. Some creators embrace and even celebrate the gendered potential of the human replicas they make, like sex doll maker Matt McMullen, or robotics expert Hiroshi Ishiguro, who attributes his creations the potential to know desires, even love.
It is literature, film, and other media that fears and hopes about the artificial beings we create have gestated; where they are represented as complex imitations of human intelligence, emotion, and/or bodies, and simultaneously as something deeply other; and, where they become mirror images of our conceptions of gender, sex, and desire, both accurate and exaggerated, that are invariably linked to negotiations of power.
The separation of gender and sex connects to complications that emerge when thinking about the phenomenological and ontological origins of the gendered machine in the cultural imaginary. Whether texts present us with soulless automata, complex androids, or incorporeal digital entities, they invariably reflect an unease about the very nature of the self, the nexus of which is often gender/sex, while also reflecting human desires that arch both towards love and death. These binaries are in turn linked to a dualistic notion of mind and body, which represent an acute concern in artificial intelligence and robotics research.
Central to this research is the question whether representations of artificial entities subvert or reify gendered dynamics of power: Are they reaffirming reflections of an untroubled binary order, or are they a self-reflexive and transgressive site of renegotiation of that order?
Other Research Interests & Projects
Other research interests include narrative, agency, and empathy in video games; gender, space, and frontiers in science fiction; aesthetics of queerness; and, the serial aesthetics of violence.
Presentations & Lectures
"Artificial Entities, Gender, & Sex in the Cultural Imagination." AI Lecture Series at the UZH Philosophy Department. May 20, 2019.
"Technandrology - a Symbolics of Human-Machine Interaction in the Postindustrial Paradigm." With Scott Loren. Posthuman Economies: Literary and Cultural Imaginations of the Postindustrial Human at the University of Basel. April 13-14, 2019.
"Player Agency, Identification, and Immersion. Or, Some Thoughts on End of the Universe." Guest lecture as part of Dr. Jesse Ramirez' seminar "Playing with the End of the World: The Last of Us and Post-Apocalyptic Gaming" at the University of St. Gallen. March 5, 2019.
"Do Androids Dream of Sex? Geschlecht in kulturellen Repräsentationen von künstlichen Entitäten." Winterkongress der Digitalen Gesellschaft. February 23, 2019.
"Do Androids Dream of Sex? Gender, Sex, and Desire in the Representation of Artificial Entities." The Cyborg Days at UZH & ETH. November 26, 2018.
"Playing (with) Horror: Video Games and the Deconstruction of Genre." SANAS Biennial Conference 2018: The Genres of Genre at the University of Lausanne. November 2-3, 2018.
"Performativity and the American Housewife: From The Stepford Wives to Gone Girl." American Domesticity Workshop at the UZH English Department. November 24-25, 2017.
Ghilardi, Morgane. "Never Fear." Ida Lupino: Die zwei Seiten der Kamera, editors Elisabeth Bronfen, Ivo Rizer, and Hannah Schoch, Bertz+Fischer, 2018.
"Imag(in)ing Future Bodies: Engagements of Gender, Race & Tech." An ongoing event series, co-organized with Hannah Schoch. Link
Prof. Shane Denson (Stanford University) “Life to Those Pixels: Imag(in)ing Future Bodies of Film and Media”. Lecture & Workshop at the English Seminar, UZH. December 14, 2018.
Donna Haraway. Storytelling for Earthly Survival. Screening at Cinema Houdini & panel discussion with Morgane Ghilardi and Edwin Ramirez. Moderation: Hannah Schoch. November 27, 2018.
Donna Haraway's Legacy: "A Cyborg Manifesto” in 2018. Colloquium for BA-, MA-, PhD-Students at the English Seminar, UZH. November 23, 2018.
|Fall 2019 / Spring 2020||Textual Analysis|
|Fall 2018 / Spring 2019||Textual Analysis|
The Ghost in the Machine:
Representations of Androids & AI in Literature & Film
|Fall 2017 / Spring 2018||Textual Analysis|