Saturday, 14 January 2017

Review of "When Species Meet" (2008) by Donna Haraway (Part 1 - Introduction)

Having started to read some of the ideas of Donna Haraway in her book "When Species Meet" (2008) University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, I was immediately taken by the idea that the majority of cells in the human body is made up of about 10% genomes and the remaining 90% of cells, consists of various other materials including bacteria, viruses, protozoa and other organisms!

Our bodies, ours as far as one could understand them belonging to us, therefore, are shared with all these other organisms. Our journey through life has become a vessel for those other bioforms. What an interesting notion this might be, especially if we consider Donna Haraway's anti-anthropocentric meditation.

Some of the reading was difficult to become immersed in, because of what I consider to be a rather typical Californian style. Her language is at times staccato, and yet at other times overly academic. The message, therefore, is occasionally blurred, but maybe this is a device that Haraway uses in an attempt to remain obscure?
She seems to have a habit of using a string of similar words separated by commas, each of which ostensibly means the same thing. Once you get used to this style, and what appears to be an incessant form of wordplay (which is something that I'm not always averse to, as I do enjoy a sense of humour at times)! Putting Haraway's writing style aside; however, the content of her works is useful. 

The simple idea that we share the world with a myriad of other creatures, and therefore need to take account and be responsible neighbours, makes good reading.

There is plenty to read in her book "When Species Meet" and my conclusion here is that my study of it, together with the study of another book recently published will serve me well for this term. This new paper, which Haraway co-wrote with one of her students (Thom Van Dooren), is in a book entitled "Flight Ways: Life and Loss at the Edge of Extinction", (2016). I already have a copy, - hot off the press!

I intend to continue to provide regular updates of my thoughts about both these books, so watch this space!

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