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Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science Paperback – August 22, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0415902946 ISBN-10: 0415902940 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; Reprint edition (August 22, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415902940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415902946
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,731 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In this book, Haraway (biology, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) claims there is a Western white male bias in theories of human evolution and culture and discusses the problems facing female scientists in this field. Shirley Strum, in Almost Human: A Journey into the World of Baboons ( LJ 10/15/87), described the resistance she met when her observations of baboons undermined theories of male social dominance. Haraway probes deeper into the origins of a male bias in primatology and provides interesing sketches of this science's founding fathers and recent women scientists. However, the dense prose and polemics of this book restrict its audience to scholars equipped to debate her views. For academic libraries.
- Beth Clewis, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Coll. Lib., Richmond, Va.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


. . . Haraway's take on the many strands of contemporary feminism is refreshingly acute. . . . Primate Visions is a genuine tour de force, uniquely combining intellectual history and the sociology of knowledge. It contains enough sheer insight and represents enough hard historical digging to fuel several scholarly careers. We leave the text genuinely enlightened on the changing boundaries between nature and culture, and on our own historical trafficking in these myriad forms of otherness.
The Nation, Nov. 1990

More About the Author

One of the founders of the posthumanities, Donna J. Haraway is professor in the History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Author of many books and widely read essays, including The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness and the now-classic essay "The Cyborg Manifesto," she received the J.D. Bernal Prize in 2000, a lifetime achievement award from the Society for Social Studies in Science.

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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jade Lamb on July 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
Although Haraway is better known for her later Cyborg Manifesto, Primate Visions is arguably better and more insightful, and is certainly a clearer and more accessible work. Primate Visions takes the reader through the history of primatology, tracing the science's roots in racism, sexism, and colonialism. Haraway begins by outlining the early 20th century American museum exhibits that furthered the racist agenda of social Darwinism, and moves through descriptions of inhumane psychological research done on primates, the implications of young women recruited to do some of the first field work with apes (including Jane Goodall), and feminist sociobiological and anthropological theories. Haraway's intense prose is supplemented by provocative and heart-wrenching illustrations. All in all, a book that challenges our preconceptions of scientific research as incorruptible and free of bias.
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16 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Jack on December 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
The first paragraph of Matt Cartmill's review of Donna Haraway's Primate Visions book. It appeared in the International Journal of Primatology (Vol. 12, No. 1, 1991)

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.

This review alone makes me want to read it. Must be a brilliant book to have flummoxed the reviewer so.
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