Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religious Studies

First Advisor

Molly Bassett

Second Advisor

Brett Esaki

Third Advisor

Randall Reed


Robotic honey bees are drones that are mobile and can successfully pollinate flowers by mimicking the behavior of wild bees in nature. This technology is a potential solution to the declining wild honey bee population. Although robotic honey bees could offer a positive solution to a problem, the fictionalization of robotic honey bees in the popular television show Black Mirror depicts the downside of independently operating drone bees. In the television show, the drones go rogue and pose a threat to human life. Concepts stemming from the anthropology of religion, like “fetish” and Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory, offer ways to think about advances in artificial intelligence and may help us understand the place of these objects and artificial intelligence in the culture. This project will investigate whether robotic honey bees fit into one of these categories or if an expansion of Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory needs expanded.