Donna Haraway

(b. 1944)

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Americancultural critic renowned for her works on the intersections between humans and machines and humans and animals. Born in Denver, Colorado, Haraway studied zoology and philosophy at Colorado College and then completed a PhD at Yale on the role of metaphor in shaping research in developmental biology, later published as Crystals, Fabrics and Fields: Metaphors of Organicism in Twemtieth-Century Development Biology (1976). She taught women's studies and general science at the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins University before her appointment to the History of Consciousness programme at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she has worked for more than two decades. Haraway's work has gone through three distinct phases. In her earliest works, such as Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science (1989), she showed that human assumptions about themselves are reflected in their analyses of animals, which in theories of animal aggression, for example, mirror our own view of ourselves as creatures driven by instincts. In the second phase, which produced the essay for which she best known, ‘A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century’, which is included in the collection Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (1991), Haraway argued that we are not as human as we think we are—our dependence on machines is so great, she argues, we have effectively become cyborgs. The third phase takes this argument in a different direction—again she wants to argue that we are less human than we think we are, but this time she does so by highlighting our dependence on animals. This latter work, particularly The Companion Species Manifesto (2003), also contains a strong ethical demand for more equitable treatment of animals.

Further Reading:

J. Schneider Donna Haraway: Live Theory (2005).

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies.

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