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University of Cambridge Centre for Gender Studies


Jenny MoranAHRC Doctoral Training Partnership /Cambridge European & Newnham College Scholarship


Supervisor: Dr. Sarah Dillon (Faculty of English, University of Cambridge)


In recent years, the phenomenon of techno-companion robotics, especially “sex bots,” has received significant attention in news media, dominant sci-fi narratives, and documentaries. The academic engagement with techno-companions has, however, been comparatively lacking. The care work and emotional work performed by devices such as sex robots, disability assistive robots, and elderly care robots, has yet to be adequately theorised as a result. The emotional, caring, and enabling forms of work which these products are designed to replicate descend from genealogies that are deeply gendered, racialized, profit-orientated, and heteronormative. Through examinations of the nuclear family, the pursuit of capital, the valuation of labour, the hierarchisation of social roles, the sociogenetic construct of ability, and the function of affect in cisheteropatriarchal white supremacist capitalism, this project situates techno-companion devices in the context of these genealogies.

Loveability is a critical theory examining stratified assignments of humanity on a biopolitical basis. The theory is designed to identify and examine orientations and affective responses to particular traits, deemed socio-politically “loveable” or “unloveable.” I propose that techno-companions are created not only to embody loveability (as “ideal companions”), but to enable their users to become more loveable in turn through emotional work. I question the indebtedness of techno-companions’ design and usage to the structural construction of which Beings are deemed most worthy of love, empathy, and protection. Through an examination of the ways in which techno-companions simulate a colonial-capitalist articulation of “love,” I ask how loveability is (re)produced by the techno-companion industry.

Academic Background:

Bachelor of Arts (First Class) in English Studies at Trinity College Dublin
Master of Arts (Distinction) in Postcolonial Studies at SOAS, University of London


Moran, J. C. (forthcoming) “Ach Ba Ghá Dom Labhairt Leat:’ An Foclóir Aiteach and the Presence of Queer Culture as Gaeilge.” In: Harvest of Distress. Derry: Derry Centre for Contemporary Art.

Moran, J. C. (forthcoming) “Programming Power and the Power of Programming: An Analysis of Racialised and Gendered Sex Robots” In: Janina Loh and Mark Coeckelbergh (eds.), Feminist Philosophy of Technology. Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019.

Moran, J. C. (2019) “‘Ach Ba Gá Dom Labhairt Leat:’ An Foclóir Aiteach and the Presence of Queer Culture as Gaeilge.” [online] Available at:

Moran, J. C. (2019) “Oppositional Artefacts: Archival Justice and the Disruption of Irish Cultural Memory through Vukašin Nedeljković‘s Asylum Archive.” A. Banks, N. Cahill and K. Friedeberg (eds.), Ontology of the Artefact. [online] Available at:

Moran, J. C. (2018) “What’s in a Meme: Literature, Representation, and Renegotiation.” [online] Available at:

Moran, J, and L. McCormack, eds. (2017) nemesis, vol. 1, no. 1. [online] Available at:

Moran, J, and L. McCormack, eds. (2017) nemesis, vol. 1, no. 2. [online] Available at: