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Donna J. Haraway (born September 6, 1944) is an American Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, United States.[1] She is a prominent scholar in the field of science and technology studies, described in the early 1990s as a "feminist, rather loosely a postmodernist".[2] Haraway is the author of numerous foundational books and essays that bring together questions of science and feminism, such as "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century" (1985) and "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective" (1988).[3][4] She is also a leading scholar in contemporary ecofeminism, associated with post-humanism and new materialism movements.[5][6] Her work criticizes anthropocentrism, emphasizes the self-organizing powers of nonhuman processes, and explores dissonant relations between those processes and cultural practices, rethinking sources of ethics.[7]

Donna Haraway
Donna Haraway and Cayenne.jpg
Donna Haraway and her dog (2006)
Donna Jeanne Haraway

(1944-09-06) September 6, 1944 (age 74)
AwardsJ. D. Bernal Award, Ludwik Fleck Prize
Academic background
Alma materYale University, Colorado College
InfluencesNancy Hartsock, Sandra Harding, G. Evelyn Hutchinson, Robert Young, Gregory Bateson
Academic work
Main interestsFeminist studies, ecofeminism, posthumanism
Notable works"A Cyborg Manifesto"

Haraway has taught Women's Studies and the History of Science at the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins University. Haraway's works have contributed to the study of both human-machine and human-animal relations. Her works have sparked debate in primatology, philosophy, and developmental biology.[8] Haraway participated in a collaborative exchange with the feminist theorist Lynn Randolph from 1990 to 1996. Their engagement with specific ideas relating to feminism, technoscience, political consciousness, and other social issues, formed the images and narrative of Haraway's book Modest_Witness for which she received the Society for Social Studies of Science's (4S) Ludwik Fleck Prize in 1999.[9][10] In September 2000, Haraway was awarded the Society for Social Studies of Science's highest honor, the J. D. Bernal Award, for her "distinguished contributions" to the field.[11] Haraway serves on the advisory board for numerous academic journals, including differences, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Contemporary Women's Writing, and Environmental Humanities.[12][13][14]


Early lifeEdit

Donna Jeanne Haraway was born in 1944 in Denver, Colorado. Haraway's father was a sportswriter for The Denver Post and her mother, who came from a heavily Irish Catholic background, died when Haraway was 16 years old.[15] Haraway attended high school at St. Mary's Academy in Cherry Hills Village, Colorado. Haraway majored in zoology, with minors in philosophy and English at the Colorado College, on the full-tuition Boettcher Scholarship.[16] After college, Haraway moved to Paris and studied evolutionary philosophy and theology at the Fondation Teilhard de Chardin on a Fulbright scholarship.[17] She completed her Ph.D. in biology at Yale in 1970 writing a dissertation about the use of metaphor in shaping experiments in experimental biology titled The Search for Organizing Relations: An Organismic Paradigm in Twentieth-Century Developmental Biology,[18] later edited into a book and published under the title Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields: Metaphors of Organicism in Twentieth-Century Developmental Biology.[19] Haraway was the recipient of a number of scholarships, to which she wittily accepted (alluding to the Cold War and post-war American hegemony) saying, “...people like me became national resources in the national science efforts. So, there was money available for educating even Irish Catholic girls' brains."[20]

Major themesEdit

"A Cyborg Manifesto"Edit

In 1985, Haraway published the essay "Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the 1980s" in Socialist Review. Although most of Haraway's earlier work was focused on emphasizing the masculine bias in scientific culture, she has also contributed greatly to feminist narratives of the twentieth century. For Haraway, the Manifesto offered a response to the rising conservatism during the 1980s in the United States at a critical juncture at which feminists, in order to have any real-world significance, had to acknowledge their situatedness within what she terms the "informatics of domination."[3][21] Women were no longer on the outside along a hierarchy of privileged binaries but rather deeply imbued, exploited by and complicit within networked hegemony, and had to form their politics as such.

According to Haraway's "Manifesto", "there is nothing about being female that naturally binds women together into a unified category. There is not even such a state as 'being' female, itself a highly complex category constructed in contested sexual scientific discourses and other social practices".[3] A cyborg does not require a stable, essentialist identity, argues Haraway, and feminists should consider creating coalitions based on "affinity" instead of identity. To ground her argument, Haraway analyzes the phrase "women of color", suggesting it as one possible example of affinity politics. Using a term coined by theorist Chela Sandoval, Haraway writes that "oppositional consciousness" is comparable with a cyborg politics, because rather than identity it stresses how affinity comes as a result of "otherness, difference, and specificity".[3]

Haraway's cyborg is a set of ideals of a genderless, race-less, more collective and peaceful civilization with the caveat of being utterly connected to the machine. Her new versions of beings reject Western humanist conceptions of personhood and promote a disembodied world of information and the withering of subjectivity. The collective consciousness of the beings and their limitless access to information provide the tools with which to create a world of immense socio-political change through altruism and affinity, not biological unity. In her essay Haraway challenges the liberal human subject and its lack of concern for collective desires which leaves the possibility for wide corruption and inequality in the world. Furthermore, the cyborg's importance lays in its coalition of consciousness not in the physical body that carries the information/consciousness. A world of beings with a type of shared knowledge could create a powerful political force towards positive change. Cyborgs can see "from both perspectives at once."[3] In addition, Haraway writes that the cyborg has an imbued nature towards the collective good.

Haraway explains that her "Manifesto" is "an effort to build an ironic political myth faithful to feminism, socialism, and materialism."[3] She adds that "Cyborg imagery can suggest a way out of the maze of dualisms in which we have explained our bodies and our tools to ourselves."[3] Haraway is serious about finding future ways towards equality and ending dominating behavior; however, the cyborg itself is not as serious of an endeavor for her as the idea of it is. Haraway creates an analogy using current technologies and information to imagine a world with a collective coalition that had the capabilities to create grand socio-political change. Haraway's "Manifesto" is a thought experiment, defining what people think is most important about being and what the future holds for increased artificial intelligence.

Cyborg feminismEdit

In her updated essay "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century", in her book Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature (1991), Haraway uses the cyborg metaphor to explain how fundamental contradictions in feminist theory and identity should be conjoined, rather than resolved, similar to the fusion of machine and organism in cyborgs.[3][22] Haraway's "Manifesto" has considerably influenced the fields of feminism, science studies, and critical theory since its original publication.[23] The manifesto is also an important feminist critique of capitalism.[citation needed]

"Situated Knowledges"Edit

Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective sheds light on Haraway's vision for a feminist science.[4] The essay originated as a commentary on Sandra Harding's The Science Question in Feminism (1986) and is a reply to Harding's "successor science". Haraway offers a critique of the feminist intervention into masculinized traditions of scientific rhetoric and the concept of objectivity. The essay identifies the metaphor that gives shape to the traditional feminist critique as a polarization. At one end lies those who would assert that science is a rhetorical practice and, as such, all "science is a contestable text and a power field".[24] At the other are those interested in a feminist version of objectivity, a position Haraway describes as a "feminist empiricism".[25] Haraway argues for an epistemology based in "situated knowledges," which synthesizes aspects of these two traditions. Haraway posits that by acknowledging and understanding the contingency of their own position in the world, and hence the contestable nature of their claims to knowledge, subjects can produce knowledge with greater objectivity than if they claimed to be neutral observers. [26]

Primate VisionsEdit

Haraway also writes about the history of science and biology. In Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science (1990), she focused on the metaphors and narratives that direct the science of primatology. She asserted that there is a tendency to masculinize the stories about "reproductive competition and sex between aggressive males and receptive females [that] facilitate some and preclude other types of conclusions".[27] She contended that female primatologists focus on different observations that require more communication and basic survival activities, offering very different perspectives of the origins of nature and culture than the currently accepted ones. Drawing on examples of Western narratives and ideologies of gender, race and class, Haraway questioned the most fundamental constructions of scientific human nature stories based on primates. In Primate Visions, she wrote:

"My hope has been that the always oblique and sometimes perverse focusing would facilitate revisionings of fundamental, persistent western narratives about difference, especially racial and sexual difference; about reproduction, especially in terms of the multiplicities of generators and offspring; and about survival, especially about survival imagined in the boundary conditions of both the origins and ends of history, as told within western traditions of that complex genre".[28]

Haraway's aim for science is "to reveal the limits and impossibility of its 'objectivity' and to consider some recent revisions offered by feminist primatologists".[29] Haraway presents an alternative perspective to the accepted ideologies that continue to shape the way scientific human nature stories are created.[30] Haraway urges feminists to be more involved in the world of technoscience and to be credited for that involvement. In a 1997 publication, she remarked:

I want feminists to be enrolled more tightly in the meaning-making processes of technoscientific world-building. I also want feminist—activists, cultural producers, scientists, engineers, and scholars (all overlapping categories) — to be recognized for the articulations and enrollment we have been making all along within technoscience, in spite of the ignorance of most "mainstream" scholars in their characterization (or lack of characterizations) of feminism in relation to both technoscientific practice and technoscience studies.[31]


Haraway's work has been criticized for being "methodologically vague"[32] and using noticeably opaque language that is "sometimes concealing in an apparently deliberate way".[33] Several reviewers have argued that her understanding of the scientific method is questionable, and that her explorations of epistemology at times leave her texts virtually meaning-free.[33][34]

A 1991 review of Haraway's Primate Visions, published in the International Journal of Primatology, provides examples of some of the most common critiques of her view of science:[34]

This is a book that contradicts itself a hundred times; but that is not a criticism of it, because its author thinks contradictions are a sign of intellectual ferment and vitality. This is a book that systematically distorts and selects historical evidence; but that is not a criticism, because its author thinks that all interpretations are biased, and she regards it as her duty to pick and choose her facts to favor her own brand of politics. This is a book full of vaporous, French-intellectual prose that makes Teilhard de Chardin sound like Ernest Hemingway by comparison; but that is not a criticism, because the author likes that sort of prose and has taken lessons in how to write it, and she thinks that plain, homely speech is part of a conspiracy to oppress the poor. This is a book that clatters around in a dark closet of irrelevancies for 450 pages before it bumps accidentally into its index and stops; but that is not a criticism, either, because its author finds it gratifying and refreshing to bang unrelated facts together as a rebuke to stuffy minds. This book infuriated me; but that is not a defect in it, because it is supposed to infuriate people like me, and the author would have been happier still if I had blown out an artery. In short, this book is flawless, because all its deficiencies are deliberate products of art. Given its assumptions, there is nothing here to criticize. The only course open to a reviewer who dislikes this book as much as I do is to question its author's fundamental assumptions—which are big-ticket items involving the nature and relationships of language, knowledge, and science.

Another review of the same book, appearing in a 1990 issue of the American Journal of Primatology, offers a similar criticism of Haraway's literary style and scholarly methods:[33]

There are many places where an editorial hand appears absent altogether. Neologisms are continually coined, and sentences are paragraph-long and convoluted. Biography, history, propaganda, science, science fiction, and cinema are intertwined in the most confusing way. Perhaps the idea is to induce a slightly dissociated state, so that readers can be lulled into belief. If one did not already possess some background, this book would give no lucid history of anthropology or primatology.

However, a review in the Journal of the History of Biology disagrees:[35]

Primate Visions is one of the most important books to come along in the last twenty years. Historians of science have begun to write more externalist histories, acknowledging the possibilities of a science profoundly integrated with ongoing social agenda. Haraway's history of primatology in the twentieth century sets new standards for this approach, standards that will not be surpassed for some time to come. The book is important to students of science, feminists, historians, and anyone else interested in how the complex systems of race, gender, and science intertwine to produce supposedly objective versions of the "truth." This analysis of primatology is at once a complex, interdisciplinary, and deeply scholarly history and an imaginative, provocative analysis of the working of science in late twentieth-century Euro-America.


  • Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields: Metaphors of Organicism in Twentieth-Century Developmental Biology, New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976. ISBN 978-0-300-01864-6
  • "Manifesto for Cyborgs: Science, Technology, and Socialist Feminism in the 1980s", Socialist Review, 80 (1985) 65–108.[3]
  • "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspectives", Feminist Studies, 14 (1988) 575–599. doi:10.2307/3178066
  • Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science, Routledge: New York and London, 1989. ISBN 978-0-415-90294-6
  • Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature, New York: Routledge, and London: Free Association Books, 1991 (includes "A Cyborg Manifesto"). ISBN 978-0-415-90387-5
  • "A Game of Cat's Cradle: Science Studies, Feminist Theory, Cultural Studies", Configurations, 2 (1994) 59–71. doi:10.1353/con.1994.0009
  • Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©Meets_OncoMouse™: Feminism and Technoscience, New York: Routledge, 1997 (winner of the Ludwik Fleck Prize). ISBN 0-415-91245-8
  • How Like a Leaf: A Conversation with Donna J. Haraway, Thyrza Nichols Goodeve, New York: Routledge, 1999. ISBN 978-0-415-92402-3
  • The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness, Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2003. ISBN 0-9717575-8-5
  • When Species Meet, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2007. ISBN 0-8166-5045-4
  • Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Durham: Duke University Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0-8223-6224-1
  • Manifestly Haraway, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2016. ISBN 978-0816650484

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "Donna J Haraway". Archived from the original on 2017-03-17. Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  2. ^ Young, Robert M. (1992). "Science, Ideology and Donna Haraway". Science as Culture. 15 (3): 179.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Haraway, Donna (1990). "A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century". Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. Routledge. pp. 149–181. ISBN 978-0415903875.
  4. ^ a b Haraway, Donna (Autumn 1988). "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective". Feminist Studies. 14 (3): 575–599. doi:10.2307/3178066. JSTOR 3178066.
  5. ^ What Is Posthumanism?. University of Minnesota Press. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  6. ^ "New Materialism". Archived from the original on 2018-03-30. Retrieved 2018-03-29.
  7. ^ Connolly, William E. (2013). "The 'New Materialism' and the Fragility of Things". Millennium: Journal of International Studies. 41 (3): 399–412. doi:10.1177/0305829813486849.
  8. ^ Kunzru, Hari. "You Are Cyborg", in Wired Magazine, 5:2 (1997) 1-7.
  9. ^ Randolph, Lynn (2009). "Modest Witness". Archived from the original on 2014-11-13. Retrieved 23 December 2016.
  10. ^ "4S Prizes | Society for Social Studies of Science". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  11. ^ "4S Prizes | Society for Social Studies of Science". Retrieved 2017-03-16.
  12. ^ "differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies". Duke University Press. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  13. ^ "Masthead". Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society. 2012-08-22. Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  14. ^ "Editorial_Board | Contemporary Women's Writing | Oxford Academic". Retrieved 2017-08-31.
  15. ^ Haraway, Donna J., How Like a Leaf: Donna J. Haraway an interview with Thyrza Nichols Goodeve. Routledge, 2000, pp. 6–7.
  16. ^ Haraway, How Like a Leaf (2000), pp. 12, 175
  17. ^ Haraway, How Like a Leaf (2000), p. 18.
  18. ^ Library of Congress, Catalog of Copyright Entries Third Series: 1973: January–June
  19. ^ Haraway, Donna Jeanne, Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields: Metaphors of Organicism in Twentieth-Century Developmental Biology. Yale University Press, 1976.
  20. ^ Bhavnani, Kum-Kum.; Haraway, Donna H. (February 1994), "Shifting the Subject: A Conversation between Kum-Kum Bhavnani and Donna Haraway, 12 April 1993, Santa Cruz, California", Feminism & Psychology (Thousand Oaks:Sage Publications) 4(1):20.
  21. ^ Glazier, Jacob W. (2016). "Cyborg Manifesto". The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. pp. 1–2. doi:10.1002/9781118663219.wbegss318. ISBN 9781118663219.
  22. ^ Andermahr, Sonya; Lovell, Terry; Wolkowitz, Carol (1997). A Glossary of Feminist Theory. Great Britain: Arnold, London. pp. 51–52. ISBN 978-0-340-59662-3.
  23. ^ Glazier, Jacob W. (2016). "Cyborg Manifesto". The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. pp. 1–2. doi:10.1002/9781118663219.wbegss318. ISBN 9781118663219.
  24. ^ Haraway, Donna (Autumn 1988). "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective". Feminist Studies. 14 (3): 577.
  25. ^ Haraway, Donna (Autumn 1988). "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective". Feminist Studies. 14 (3): 580.
  26. ^ Haraway, Donna (Autumn 1988). "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective". Feminist Studies. 14 (3): 595–596.
  27. ^ Carubia, Josephine M., "Haraway on the Map", in Semiotic Review of Books. 9:1 (1998), 4-7.
  28. ^ Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science, Routledge: New York and London, 1989. ISBN 978-0-415-90294-6
  29. ^ Russon, Anne. "Deconstructing Primatology?", in Semiotic Review of Books, 2:2 (1991), 9-11.
  30. ^ Elkins, Charles, "The Uses of Science Fiction", in Science Fiction Studies, 17:2 (1990).
  31. ^ Modest_Witness@Second_Millennium.FemaleMan©_Meets_OncoMouse™: feminism and technoscience, New York: Routledge, 1997. ISBN 0-415-91245-8.
  32. ^ Hamner, M. Gail (2003), "The Work of Love: Feminist Politics and the Injunction to Love", in Rieger, Jeorg, ed. (2003-09-11). Opting for the Margins: Postmodernity and Liberation in Christian Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780198036500.
  33. ^ a b c Cachel, Susan (1990). "Partisan primatology. Review of Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the world of Modern Science". American Journal of Primatology. 22 (2): 139–142. doi:10.1002/ajp.1350220207.
  34. ^ a b Cartmill, Matt (February 1991). "Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the world of Modern Science (book review)". International Journal of Primatology. 12 (1): 67–75. doi:10.1007/BF02547559.
  35. ^ Fausto-Sterling, Anne (June 1990). "Essay review: Primate Visions, a model for historians of science?". Journal of the History of Biology. 23 (2): 329–333. doi:10.1007/BF00141475.

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