Jasmine Erdener

About me

I grew up in Austin, Texas and attended UT Austin where I completed my bachelor’s degree in the Plan II Honors Program. After graduating, I moved to Lyon, France for two years. I taught English in a primary school, and then completed a master’s degree at Université Jean Moulin Lyon III in Lettres Modernes.

I finished my PhD program at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania in 2019. During this time, I conducted three summers of ethnography at Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont, and became interested in the connections and differences between puppetry and more high-tech performing objects like robots, AI, or cyborgs.

My first project explores questions of agency and political engagement between these performing objects, specifically focusing on Bread and Puppet, Sophia the robot, cyborgs and the Cyborg Foundation, and feminist and Afrofuturist science fiction. I use a feminist and critical race studies approach to science and technology studies.

After completing the PhD, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the newly founded Center on Digital Culture and Society at Annenberg in 2019-2020.

In the fall of 2020, I moved to Istanbul, Turkey to accept a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Media and Visual Arts at Koç University.

My next project focuses on ethics, data, and technology, particularly the growing area of “digital resurrection technology,” which combines AI with an individual’s social media data, purchase history, online profile, text messages, emails, even memories, to create a digital replica of the deceased. In this project, I examine the efforts to create a digital replica of a person after death, and how big data, surveillance, and privacy intersect with this vision of AI. What ethical issues arise in creating an AI replica of the deceased? What implications does this have for media, memory, privacy, and surveillance?