Hannah Link M.A.

PhD Student | Human Limits and Infrastructures

Under the auspice of posthumanism, there is currently a discussion about the extent to which non-human entities can be integrated into sociological research. While the founders of sociology used the human subject as the starting point and focus of their analysis, the aim now is to adjust the perspective: matter, objects, animals, and ecological processes are also suspected of being the starting point of action, just like humans. Humans and non-humans are thus being symmetrized and described either as interconnected or as opposing actors. Informed by feminist posthumanisms and practice theories, my dissertation project asks how the “human” as such is constituted.

Using the case of robotics, I conduct a sociological-ethnographic analysis of the differentiation between humans and non-humans. The guiding assumption is that neither “the human” nor “the non-human” is subject to natural, unavoidable facts but is understood as a product of sociomaterial ordering processes. My focus lies on technoscientific assumptions about “the human” and the informational and mechanical implementation of these assumptions in robots.

The guiding question is how exactly these differentiations between humans and machines are carried out and in what ways robots are induced with this knowledge of differentiation. My dissertation project builds upon sociological and posthumanist studies and contributes to a theory of the human.


Herbert Kalthoff, Hannah Link (2021): Zukunftslaboratorien. Technisches Wissen und die Maschinenwesen der Robotik. In: Dilek Dizdar, Stefan Hirschauer, Johannes Paulmann, Gabriele Schabacher (Hg.): Humandifferenzierung. Disziplinäre Perspektiven und empirische Sondierungen. Weilerswist-Metternich: Velbrück Verlag: S. 314-341.

Link, Hannah (2023): Robotermaterial und ‘Künstliche Intelligenz‘. Posthumanistische Potenziale der Robotik In: Richard Groß/ Rita Jordan (Hg.): KI-Realitäten. Modelle, Praktiken, Topologien maschinellen
Bielefeld: transcript. S. 143-167.

Link, Hannah/Kalthoff, Herbert (2023): Die Naturalisierung des Roboters. Zu einer Soziologie technischen Wissens. In: Torsten Cress/Oliwia Murawska /Annika Schlitte (Hg.): Posthuman? Neue Perspektiven auf Natur/Kultur. Paderborn: Fink/Brill, S. 261-280.

Matter of Intelligence.
The Technoscientific Production of Posthuman Sociality, University of Bologna and Italian Society of Science and Technology Studies, Bologna, 28.06.2023.

Testing as Relating. Getting a Sense of a Humanoid Robot, STS-Hub.de 2023 “Circulations”, Human Technology Center, Aachen, 17.03.2023 (mit Herbert Kalthoff).

Verschaltungsintensität. Von der Autarkie zur Relationalität von Intelligenz im Feld der Robotik.Interdisziplinäre Tagung des Schaufler Kolleg Dresden: Künstliche Intelligenz als geistes- & sozialwissenschaftlicher Begriff, TU Dresden, 1.12.2021.

Die Maschinenwesen der Robotik. Tagung des Forums Humandifferenzierung: Humandifferenzierung. Disziplinäre Perspektiven und empirische Sondierungen, JGU Mainz, 26.06.2020 (mit Herbert Kalthoff).

Humanoide Roboter. Zur Ambiguität von Maschinenwesen. 4. Mainzer Symposium der Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften am Forschungsschwerpunkt SoCum: Jenseits des Menschen. Posthumane Perspektiven auf Natur/Kultur, JGU Mainz, 20.09.2019 (mit Herbert Kalthoff).

Foto: Stephanie Füssenich