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Despina Kakoudaki

Associate Professor and Director, Humanities Lab
Department of Literature

  • Additional Positions at AU

    Director, Humanities Lab
  • Professor Kakoudaki teaches interdisciplinary courses in literature and film, visual culture, and the history of technology and new media. Her interests include cultural studies, science fiction, apocalyptic narratives, and the representation of race and gender in literature and film.

    She completed her doctorate in Comparative Literature at the University of California at Berkeley, and taught at Berkeley and at Harvard University before joining AU. She has published articles on robots and cyborgs, race and melodrama in action and disaster films, body transformation and technology in early film, the political role of the pin-up in World War II, and the representation of the archive in postmodern fiction. She has also co-edited a collection of essays on the work of Pedro Almodovar with Brad Epps (University of Minnesota Press, 2009).

    Professor Kakoudaki's new book, titled Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2014. She received a fellowship from the National Endowment for this project, which traces the history and cultural function of constructed people and animated objects in literature and film.
  • Degrees

    PhD, Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley
    MA, Comparative Literature, University of California at Berkeley
    BA, English and American Literature/ Linguistics, University of Athens, Greece
  • Languages Spoken:

    Modern Greek, Ancient Greek, Latin, French

  • CAS - Literature
  • Battelle Tompkins - 211

  • (202) 885-2796 (Office)
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Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications

  • " Representing Politics in DIsaster Films." In International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics, 7:3 (Dec. 2011): 349-356. Click here to read this article online.

  • " 'Get out of the Shower': The 'Shower Scene' and Hitchcock's Narrative Style in Psycho." In PopMatters, Director Spotlight: Alfred Hitchcock. 11 June 2010. Click here to read this article online. 

  • “World Without Strangers: The Poetics of Coincidence in Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her.” In Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies—68. 23:2 (Sept. 2008): ii-39
  • “Studying Robots, Between Science and the Humanities.” In The International Journal of the Humanities, 5:8 (Dec. 2007): 165-182.
  • “Spectacles of History: Race Relations, Melodrama and the Science Fiction/Disaster Film.” In Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture and Media Studies—50. 17: 2 (May 2002): 109-153.
  • “Pin-up: The American Secret Weapon in World War II.” In Porn Studies. Ed. Linda Williams. Durham: Duke University Press, 2004. 335-369.
  • “Pin-up and Cyborg: Exaggerated Gender and Artificial Intelligence.” In Future Females, The Next Generation: New Voices and Velocities in Feminist Science Fiction Criticism. Ed. Marleen S. Barr. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000. 165-195.



Work In Progress

  • Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2014.

  • A historical and theoretical approach to the discourse of the artificial person from antiquity to the 20th century. Single-authored book-length manuscript, in print.

  • You can see a description of this project on the Rutgers University Press website.

  • Listen to a short interview I gave about this  book on the Kojo Nnamdi Show on Robots and Pop Culture.


  • All About Almodóvar: A Passion for Cinema. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press,  2009.

  • Co-edited with Professor Bradley S. Epps, Harvard University.  A new collection of critical essays on Pedro Almodóvar by international group of scholars. Includes substantial co-authored “Introduction” and single-authored chapter. Edited Book, in print.

  • You can look at the book's description on the University of Minnesota Press website.  


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