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When Species Meet (Posthumanities) Paperback – November 26, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
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While those familiar with Haraway’s oeuvre will find numerous connections to her earlier work, she does an excellent job of narrating how she came to the questions at the heart of When Species Meet and (perhaps most importantly) what is at stake for her in these questions, politically and otherwise. Of particular interest to philosophy buffs are Haraway’s gratifying critiques of Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s well-known writing on “becoming-animal”; these critiques arise as part of Haraway’s overall challenge to the boundaries between “wild” or “domestic” creatures. Similarly, her response to Jacques Derrida’s ruminations on animals reveals the provocations that can arise from work that pokes holes in conventional disciplinary engagements with any given topic. Haraway’s willingness to take on both biology and philosophy, to cite only two of her resources, results in suggestive insights on a number of issues, but especially (with Derrida, et. al.) regarding the question of what it means to take animals seriously.
I found Haraway’s considerable enthusiasm and knowledge in When Species Meet to be invigorating. This book should appeal to a broad audience including animal lovers, scientists and their allies, theorists, and people who love random and little known information (e.g., the history of imported North American gray wolves during South African apartheid). While Haraway emphasizes that her desire to look more carefully at companion species, those “who eat and break bread together but not without some indigestion,” does not come with any guarantees, she infectiously believes that there is a good deal at stake in the mundane and extraordinary details of the co-shaping species she documents across these pages. Given her hope for the worldly orientations, such as curiosity and respect, that might be cultivated by looking at companion species differently, it is appropriate that she begins and ends the text by reminding us that “[t]here is no assured happy or unhappy ending — socially, ecologically, or scientifically. There is only the chance for getting on together with some grace.”
Review by Marie Draz, Feminist Review Blog
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is brilliant and deals with animal issues that have yet to be addressed. It thoroughly changed the way I conceptualize the body in my scholarship, and the way that I conceptualize the difference and dichotomy between humans and non-humans. The crux of her argument is that humans are always in a state of becoming with animals.
While some of the professional reviews of this book suggest that it is highly accessible (and, compared to the dense impenetrable thicket of metaphors that overran her previous works such as Primate Visions, it is) do not be fooled. She is NOT writing for a general audience. Indeed, in all her writing, Haraway gives the distinct impression that she is indifferent to the experience of her readers with her work. The professional critics quoted on this website are correct that Primate Visions has a refreshing exuberance in its prose, but the exuberance is all Haraway having fun with herself (not with you) and her own delirious love of words and metaphors for the sake of words and metaphors. She's too busy listening to herself write to notice whether you the reader might be getting lost in the thicket of her ideas, digressions, metaphors. It's not egotistical on Haraway's part (or even narcissistic exactly) she's simply off on another plane of existence, a linguistic/metaphoric plane of co-constructed beings who never leave the realm of the mind to try to engage with the real world.
All of which is quite ironic, since one of her many motifs that thrills her so much is the idea of "co-production" of knowledge and the metaphor of the "knot" - the relationship and "becoming with" that occurs as two "things" have an "encounter." Yet what emerges so clearly from her work is that she is not at all interested in her readers' encounters with her work.Read more ›