Chair of the Academic Division of Communication, History and Politics
Professor, Communication and Media Studies

Ph.D. Rutgers University, USA
M.A. Wake Forest University, USA
B.A. Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan

Office: Lowerre Academic Center, Office 9
Phone: +41 91 986 36 57

Satomi Sugiyama is Professor of Communication and Media Studies. She received her PhD in Communication Studies at Rutgers University with her dissertation on mobile communication and fashion. Her research and teaching interests include emerging communication technologies and interpersonal relationships, culture, and fashion studies. Her work has been published in such journals as New Media and Society, Fashion Theory, First Monday, and International Journal of Social Robotics, as well as in edited books by Springer, Peter Lang, and Transaction. Sugiyama received MacArthur and National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships at Colgate University while completing her PhD at Rutgers University. She also received an international exploratory workshop grant from the Swiss National Foundation in order to initiate a collaborative exploration of the notion of social robots and ICTs. The workshop led to further international collaborations across disciplines including a COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) workshop on social robotics. She is member of euRobotics topic group "socially intelligent robots and societal applications" and is presently conducting research on perceptions toward social robots. Her current research also includes an investigation into images of wearable technologies and the emoji use among youth. In recent years, she served as a thesis jury member and a guest lecturer for the Master of Advanced Studies in Interaction Design, SUPSI, Lugano, Switzerland. She is on the editorial board of Human-Machine Communication as well as intervalla: platform for intellectual exchange.  


2023-2024 Courses

COM 105 Introduction to Communication and Media FALL 2023
COM 230T Communication, Fashion, and the Formation of Taste (Italy: Florence and Milan) FALL 2023
COM 350 Mediated Relationships FALL 2023
COM 105 Introduction to Communication and Media Studies in the Global Context SPRING 2024
COM 212 Public Speaking SPRING 2024
COM 347 Organizational Communication SPRING 2024
COM 295 Media Consumption, Fashion, and Identity SUMMER 2024


Sugiyama, S. (2021). The Apparatgeist of Pepper-kun: An exploration of emerging cultural meanings of a social robot in Japan. In J. E. Katz, J. Floyd, & K. Schiepers (eds.), Perceiving the Future through New Communication Technologies: Robots, AI and Everyday Life. Palgrave-Macmillan (pp. 113-128).

Sugiyama, S. (2019). Human-Social Robot Interactions: From a Communication and Media Studies Perspective. In C. Linke, & I. Scholte (eds.), Integrative Perspectives on the Change of Mediated Interpersonal Communication. Springer. 

Steinert-Borella, S., & Sugiyama, S. (2019). Introduction: Questions of Taste. intervalla: platform for intellectual exchange, 7, 1-5

Sugiyama, S. (2018). The Emoji and the Management of Social Boundaries. intervalla: platform for intellectual exchange, 6, 19-33.

Sugiyama, S. (2019). Wearable technologies: Fashion, size and visibility. InA. Mascio, R. Menarini, S. Reinach, & I. Tolic (Eds). The Size Effect: Measuring Design, Fashion and Media (pp. 99-108). Mimesis International. 

Barile, N., & Sugiyama, S. (2018). Wearing Data: From McLuhan’s “Extended Skin” to the Integration Between Wearable Technologies and a New Algorithmic Sensibility. Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture. DOI: 10.1080/1362704X.2018.1514847

Sugiyama, S. (2018). Exploration of expected interaction norms with a social robot in everyday life: A case of twitter analysis in Japan (long abstract). M. Funk et al. (Eds). Envisioning Robots in Society—Politics, Power, and Public Space. IOS Press Ebooks.

Sugiyama, S. (2017). The image of wearable ICTs: an exploration from a fashion perspective. In G. Motta, & A. Biagini (Eds.), Fashion through History: Costumes, Symbols, Communication (vol. II). Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars. 

Barile, N., & Sugiyama, S. (2016). I am Her(e): Physical/cognitive robots and human intimacy in the imagery of Spike Jonze’s movies. In J. Seibt, M. Nørskov, & S. S. Andersen (Eds.), What social robots can and should do (pp. 335 – 339). IOS Press Ebooks. DOI 10.3233/978-1-61499-708-5-335

Sugiyama, S. (2015). Kawaii meiru and Maroyaka neko: Mobile emoji for relationship maintenance and aesthetic expressions among Japanese teens. First Monday, 20 (10), DOI:

Pfadenhauer, M., Sugiyama, S., & Ess, C. M. (2015). Special issue of IJSR on social robots: Form, content, critique. International Journal of Social Robotics. 10.1007/s12369-015-0291-1

Barile, N., & Sugiyama, S. (2015). The automation of taste: A theoretical exploration of mobile ICTs and social robots in the context of music consumption. International Journal of Social Robotics. 10.1007/s12369-015-0283-1

Ess, C., Sugiyama, S., Sandry, E., & Pfadenhauer, M. (2014). Communication - Theoretical issues in social robotics. In J. Seibt, R. Hakli, & M. Nørskov (eds.), Sociable Robots and the Future of Social Relations: Proceedings of Robo-Philosophy 2014 (pp. 153-156). Amsterdam: IOS Press BV.

Sugiyama, S. (2013). Melding with the self, melding with relational partners, and turning into a quasi-social robot. A Japanese case study of people's experiences of emotion and mobile devices. intervalla: platform for intellectual exchange, 1, 71-84.

Sugiyama, S., & Vincent, J. (2013). Social robots and emotion: transcending the boundary between humans and ICTs. intervalla: platform for intellectual exchange, 1, 1-6.

Sugiyama, S. (2013). The Muted Mobile in Tokyo. In S. Tosoni, M. Tarantino, & Giaccardi (Eds.), Media and the City: Urbanism, Technology, and Communication, Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars.

Sugiyama, S. (2011). "Interpersonal communication beyond geographical constraints: A case of college students who maintain geographically dispersed relationships." In R. Ling & S. W. Campbell (Eds.), Mobile Communication Research Annual Volume II: Bringing Us Together or Tearing Us Apart? (pp. 271-292). New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction.

Sugiyama, S (2010). "Seeking equilibrium: A study of how college students with diverse cultural backgrounds experience mobile communication in everyday life." Encyclopaideia: Journal of Phenomenology and Education, 27 (2), 133-154.

Sugiyama, S. (2010). “Fashion and the mobile phone: A study of symbolic meanings of mobile phone for college-age young people across cultures.” Hoflich, J. R., Kircher, G. F., Linke, C., & Schlote, I (Eds.), Mobile Media and the Change of Everyday Life (pp. 171-190). Berlin: Peter Lang.

Sugiyama, S. (2009). “The decorated mobile phone and emotional attachment for Japanese youths.” In J. Vincent, & L. Fortunati (Eds.), Electronic Emotion, the Mediation of Emotion via Information and Communication Technologies (pp. 85-103). Oxford: Peter Lang.

Katz, J.E. & Sugiyama, S. (2006). “Mobile phones as fashion statements: Evidence from student surveys in the US and Japan,” New Media and Society, 8 (2), 367-83.

Katz, J.E. & Sugiyama, S. (2005). “Mobile phones as fashion statements: The co-creation of mobile communication’s public meaning.” In R. Ling & P. Pedersen (Eds.), Mobile Communications: Re-negotiation of the Social Sphere (pp. 63-81). Surrey, UK: Springer.

Sugiyama, S., & Katz, J.E. (2003). “Social conduct, social capital and the mobile phone in the US and Japan: A preliminary exploration via student surveys.” In K. Nyiri (Ed.), Mobile Democracy: Essays on Society, Self and Politics (pp. 375-386). Vienna: Passengen Verlag.

Awards and Honors:

Swiss National Science Foundation, International Exploratory Workshop fund, December 2010

NEH Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Colgate University, August 2005 - May 2006

MacArthur Pre-doctoral Fellowship, Colgate University, August 2004 - May 2005

Recent Conferences:

Sugiyama, S. (2023, July). Japanese city pop and the music streaming platform. Thessaloniki Conference on Global Media and Culture, Thessaloniki, Greece.  

Sugiyama, S. (2023, May), Emojis, social boundaries, and the authenticity of emotions. Authenticity in Communications: Media Sociology Post Conference, International Communication Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  

Sugiyama, S. (2023, May). Presence, touch, and the authenticity of experience, Authenticity in Communicating with Machines: Human Machine Communication Preconference, International Communication Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. 

Sugiyama, S. (2021, June). Fashion media and global social challenges: A case of Vogue Japan. Fashion Tales 2020+1: Politics Through the Wardrobes. ModaCult, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milano.

Barile, N., & Sugiyama, S. (2021, June). Wearing devices: what we leave behind and how it shapes us. What People Leave Behind. Marks, Traces, Footprints and their Significance for Social Sciences. Sapienza University of Rome, Rome.

Sugiyama, S. (2021, April). Exploring societal application opportunities of social robots from a communication and media studies perspective. In the session, “Socially Useful Robots in the era of social distancing and new normal - The needs, applications, barriers and solutions,” European Robotics Forum.

Sugiyama, S. (2020, June). Still, we cannot touch: After decades of perpetual contact and absent presence. All in One Festival of Technological Art, online conference organized in collaboration with ITMO University, Saint Petersburg, Russia.  

Sugiyama, S. (2019, November). The interface, human senses, and emerging technologies. When the Interface Slips Away: Lapsus Machinae, Autonomization and Bugs. Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris.

Sugiyama, S. (2018, October). Social robots as emerging technologies: Exploration through Goffman and Apparatgeist theory. European Communication Research and Education Association (ECREA) Annual Meeting, University of Lugano, Lugano. 

Sugiyama, S. (2017, May). Images of wearable technologies. ZoneModa conference, University of Bologna, Rimini Campus, Italy.