Donna Haraway - Breaking Boundaries Through Sciece


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  • Although labels are a controversial topic for my futurist, I would like to introduce Donna Haraway – an influential scholar in the field of primatology, feminism and technoscience. Haraway serves as an ideal embodiment of a futurist as she utilizes pre-existing epistemologies, particularly in the discourses of science and technology, to create a utopian world that does not depend on strict dualisms such as social/natural or animal/human.25 seconds
  • “Haraway grew up in a white Irish Catholic middle-class family in Denver, Colorado”In current interviews, Haraway has pointed out the significance of her early life as a ‘good Catholic girl.’ Not only did she attend church on a regular basis, but her existence was strongly molded by the traditions, narratives and figures that define Catholicism. 19 seconds
  • In current academic publication, Haraway states she has abandoned her former religious beliefs and now identifies herself as a committed atheist and anti-catholic. She also suggests that the “Catholic sacrementalism of her adolescence has strongly influenced her contemporary all-encompassing visions. Based on the recollections of her past, Haraway suggests that, “her present sense of the permeability of boundaries that define categories that to other seem unbreachable and not open to debate was operative and consequential early on in her life.” 28 seconds
  • Haraway attended Colorado College, where she received a triple major in zoology, philosophy, and EnglishFollowing graduation in 1966, Haraway went to Paris on a full scholarship at the Faculte des Sciences, Universties de Paris. This experience contributed to her sympathies of leftist politics. She then went on to study science and began her PhD in biology at Yale University, where she became exposed to the feminist, pro-peace and anti-racist politics as students groups attempted to bring awareness to these issues.28 seconds
  • The developmentof Haraway’s education took place in the midst of the Civil Rights Era duringlate the 1960s wherein minority groups such as African American, Women and Gay/Queer individuals were advocating for their rights. This undeniably contributed to her support of social equality and her determination towards eliminating capitalist-patriarchal labels and epistemologies19 seconds
  • It was in the lab at Yale where Haraway started to form her own specific interests as a historian of science and biology. Consequently, Haraway became engaged in the historical and philosophical study of biology, “as practices of knowing about the world through a set of rich and detailed organic metaphors.”She was fascinated with how these metaphors facilitate thinking about nature and society in tangible and symbolic ways.22 seconds
  • After completing her PhD, Haraway found herself in Hawaii at John Hopkins University where she became involved with the Department of the History of Science. Haraway joined the Marxist-feminist Women’s Union at the University, made up of a group of radical women. It was through this involvement as well as Haraway’s life in a racially & ethnically diverse locality that she encountered a new understanding of community and mutual politics of difference. 22 seconds
  • This was also when she began to write the book that has come to define her work, known as Primate Visions: Gender, Race, & Nature in the World of Modern Science.In this book, Haraway presents primates as key figures used in a variety of ways by primatologists and scientists to produce and maintain a collection of narratives that form the foundation of Western science, society, culture and nature. 20 seconds
  • Throughout this book, Haraway utilizes the study of primates to argue that the people who have contributed to these studies have added their own cultures and histories, although often in a way that has traditionally gone unacknowledged.Haraway untangles the metaphors and stories that control what gets disseminated in the scientific study of primatology to promote a discourse of science and reproduction that accepts difference and alternative ideologies22 seconds
  • This is the point at which Haraway urges feminists to make their mark on the world of technoscience, to be more involved in the meaning-making processes and to be recognized for these contributions in order to challenge the Western narratives that focus on a very masculinized, and hierarchal ordering of discourses & knowledge’s. 16 seconds
  • This argument is developed in another influential piece by Haraway known as “Situated Knowledges: The Science Questions in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective” in which she continues to refute the objectivity of scientific discourse.In this text, she argues “for a doctrine and practice of objectivity that privileges contestation, deconstruction, passionate construction, webbed connections, and hope for transformation of systems of knowledge and ways of seeing.”25 seconds
  • Haraway views objectivity as an external and disembodied perspective, that allegedly offers an absolute truth. However, this proves problematic as it bestows privilege on an unmarked body, a person considered to represent the majority of a society. This leaves out other groups such as women, people of the LGBT community as well as racial or economic minorities. Rather than relying on this “view from above,” joining together partial views into a collective subject position offers a vision of living within the limits and contradictions of the restricted human body.29 seconds
  • This discussion of what to make of the human body as science and technology makes advances and becomes more complex is analyzed in one of Haraway’s most popular pieces entitled “A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, & Socialist-Feminism in the Late 20th Century” At the heart of this article is the image of the cyborg, “a machine and organism, a creature of social reality as well as a creature of fiction.”  22 seconds
  • In order to understand what truly makes Haraway a futurist requires a detailed explanation of how the metaphor of a cyborg creates a platform for feminists to push past the constraints of traditional feminism and politics. This theory has been influenced by Haraway’s fascination with contemporary science fiction, as this genre is full of cyborgs, “creatures simultaneously animal & machine, who populate worlds ambiguously natural and crafted.”22 seconds
  • In Haraway’s article, she rejects the traditional Oedipal narratives and Christian ideologies of origin, most notably genesis, through the image of the cyborg. This notion of the cyborg is a refusal of strict boundaries that embody these stories, particularly those separating human from machine and/or animal. This also leads to a social revolution in the household, wherein; “nature and culture are reworked so that the one can no longer be the resource for appropriation or incorporation by the other.”23 seconds
  • Accompanying this transformation of conventional theories of origin is a move away from essentialized language in order to create political coalitions in conformity with affinity as opposed to identity.Seeing as there is no such thing as a “natural’ self, Haraway argues that feminists cannot make use of an imaginary biological outlook as a common grounds for political affairs or to participate in a protest against scientific discourse23 seconds
  • These lists are an outline towards a promising image of unity, “a picture indebted to socialist and feminist principles of design.” As Haraway state, “this is a chart of transitions, from the comfortable old hierarchal dominations to the scary new networks I have called the informatics of domination”17 seconds
  • As the continuation of this chart of transitions demonstrates, Haraway asserts that the 1980s/90s witnessed a drastic change from an industrialized society to one directed by information systems. From Haraway’s perspective, communications technologies are the crucial tools recreating our bodies. These tools represent and put into effect new social relations for women globally22 seconds
  • Harawayhas created an idea of societal transformation that is not rigidly structured nor does it offer complete individual agency.She demonstrates that the growth of advanced technology calls into question the duality that forms western customs and produces the physical and visionary circumstances for a collective cyborg way of life.19 seconds
  • Haraway asserts that this new splintered and hybrid subjectivity takes on new importancein formulating and reevaluating prevalent masculine discourses that create the illusion of humility. Haraway see’s female writers as leading the way, as they question and destabilize this traditional objective transparency. 17 seconds
  • Donna Haraway - Breaking Boundaries Through Sciece

    1. 1. Donna Haraway (1944 - ) ffd “There is nothing about being „female‟ that naturally binds women. There is not even such a state as „being‟ female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses & other social practices.” – A Cyborg Manifesto
    2. 2. Common Catholic symbol: image of the Crucifix (a cross with the body of Christ attached)
    3. 3. Passional Christi und Antichristi, by Lucas Cranach the Elder, from Luther's 1521 Passionary of the Christ and Antichrist. The Pope as the Antichrist, signing and selling indulgences.
    4. 4. fdfdfdfd Universties de Paris Yale University
    5. 5. “Well, who is to say that diversity is to produce equality, what a strange illusion. What a remarkable idea. When I said that diversity is the name of the game of capital accumulation these days, I mean that as a kind of low-key descriptive statement. It is because of certain technoscientific endeavors which complicate the issues of diversity and political identity.” - Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000
    6. 6. “I want this book to be responsible to primatologists, to historians of science, to cultural theorists, to the broad left, anti-racist, anticolonial, and women‟s movements, to animals, and to lovers of serious stories. Primates existing at the boundaries of so many hopes and interests are wonderful subjects with whom to explore the permeability of walls, the reconstitution of borders, the distaste for endless socially enforced dualisms” – Donna Haraway, Primate Visions.
    7. 7. “The moral is simple: only partial perspective promises objective vision. All Western cultural narratives about objectivity are allegories of the ideologies governing the relations of what we call mind & body, distance & responsibility. Feminist objectivity is about limited location & situated knowledge, not about transcendence & splitting of subject & object. It allows us to become answerable for what we learn how to see. – Haraway, Situated Knowledges, p. 583.
    8. 8. “A splitting of senses, a confusion of voice & sight, rather than clear & distinct ideas, becomes the metaphor for the ground of the rational. We seek not the knowledges ruled by pallogocentrism (nostalgia for the presence of the one true Word) & disembodied vision. We seek those ruled by partial sight & limited voice – not partiality for its own sake but, rather, for the sake of the connections & unexpected openings situated knowledges make possible.” – Donna Haraway, Situated Knowledges p. 590.
    9. 9. “An ironic dream of a common language for women in the integrated circuit” – Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto, p. 291.
    10. 10. “This chapter is an argument for pleasure in the confusion of boundaries & for responsibility in their construction. It is also an effort to contribute to socialist-feminist culture & theory in a postmodernist, nonnaturalist mode & in the utopian tradition of imagining a world without gender, which is perhaps a world without genesis, but maybe also a world without end.” – Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto, p. 292.
    11. 11. “The cyborg is a creature in a post-gender world. It has no truck with bisexuality, pre-oedipal symbiosis, unalienated labour, or other seductions to organic wholeness through a final appropriation of all the powers of the pasts into a higher unity. In a sense, the cyborg has no origin story in the Western sense – a „final‟ irony since the cyborg is the awful apocalyptic telos of the „Wests‟s‟ escalating dominations of abstract individuation, an ultimate self untied at last from all dependency, a man in space. – Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto, p. 292.
    12. 12. Old Hierarchal Dominations Representation Bourgeois novel, realism Organism Depth, integrity Heat Biology as clinical practice Physiology Small group Perfection Eugenics Decadence, Magic Mountain Hygiene Microbiology, tuberculosis Organic division of labour Functional specialization Reproduction Organic: sex role specialization Biological determinism Community ecology Racial chain of being Informatics of Domination Simulation Science fiction, postmodernism Biotic component Surface, boundary Noise Biology as inscription Communications engineering Subsystem Optimization Population control Obsolescence, Future Shock Stress management Immunology, AIDS Ergonomics/cybernetics of labour Modular construction Replication Optimal genetic strategies Evolutionary inertia, constraints Ecosystem Neo-imperialism, United Nations humanism
    13. 13. Scientific Management in home/factory Family wage Public/private Nature/culture Cooperation Freud Sex Labour Mind Second World War White capitalist patriarchy Global factory/electronic cottage Comparable worth Cyborg citizenship Fields of difference Communications enhancement Lacan Genetic Engineering Robotics Artificial intelligence Star Wars Informatics of domination “I argue for a politics rooted in claims about fundamental changes in the nature of class, race, and gender in an emerging system of world order analogous in its novelty and scope to that created by industrial capitalism”- Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto, p. 300.
    14. 14. “Cyborg writing must not be about the Fall, the imagination of a onceupon-a-time wholeness before language, before writing, before Man. Cyborg writing is about the power to survive, not on the basis of original innocence, but on the basis of seizing the tools to mark the world that marked them as other.”Donna Haraway, A Cyborg Manifesto, p 311.