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When Species Meet (Posthumanities) Paperback – 26 Nov 2007

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Product details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University of Minnesota Press (26 Nov. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816650462
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816650460
  • Product Dimensions: 14.9 x 3.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 59,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Donna Haraway's latest book, "When Species Meet," is a stunning meditation on the ordinary. Tying together questions of interspecies encounters and alternative practices of world building, Haraway explores how contemporary human beings interact with various critters to form meanings, experiences, and worlds. The text effortlessly slides between theory and autobiography; one of the driving connections in this regard is Ms. Cayenne Pepper, an Australian sheepdog whose "darter-tongue kisses" compel Haraway to look closely at what biologist Lynn Margulis calls "symbiogenesis," a process that explains how life forms continually intermingle, leading to ever more "intricate and multidirectional acts of association of and with other life forms." From lab animals to interspecies love to breeding purebreds, Haraway ensures that her readers will never look at human-animal encounters of any sort in the same way again.
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 FElix 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
"
"

Donna Haraway s latest book, "When Species Meet," is a stunning meditation on the ordinary. Tying together questions of interspecies encounters and alternative practices of world building, Haraway explores how contemporary human beings interact with various critters to form meanings, experiences, and worlds. The text effortlessly slides between theory and autobiography; one of the driving connections in this regard is Ms. Cayenne Pepper, an Australian sheepdog whose darter-tongue kisses compel Haraway to look closely at what biologist Lynn Margulis calls symbiogenesis, a process that explains how life forms continually intermingle, leading to ever more intricate and multidirectional acts of association of and with other life forms. From lab animals to interspecies love to breeding purebreds, Haraway ensures that her readers will never look at human-animal encounters of any sort in the same way again.
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 Felix 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
"
""

About the Author

Haraway is Professor in the History of Consciousness Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz.


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This is a great book. I love animals so am biased when it comes to reading about them. But this is a different kind of read. In a word, this is philosophy, of which I am also a big fan. So, again, I am biased. I love how the author presents her position on the human objectification of animals. We need to take a greater stand on this as a human race, but again, this is the philosopher in me and my love of animals taking over. If you are not into animals, it is still a wonder piece of profound thinking, and will inspire you to question your beliefs, values, etc. The only thing that sort of made me sneer was the over use in my opinion of difficult discourse applied throughout. I found myself having to stop and think about what she meant at times, not for the short story reader. I also found myself thinking of how she could have said the same thing more easily.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is important to draw on one's own experiences when writing a book on this subject, but the author goes over the top, particularly when discussing her father. Nevertheless, there are useful insights here from an influential author.
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Format: Paperback
A very enjoyable read. The book deals with intricate subjects of emotion and does so in a personal and engaging manner.
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what a great iconoclastic original radical book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 5 reviews
45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book 3 Aug. 2009
By commscholar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I agree with the previous reviewer: this book is not intended for a general reader. It is intended for a specialized academic audience. It seems silly to critique it based on not fulfilling the needs of a general reader. It's like buying a sports car and then complaining that it doesn't have enough room or hugs the road too much. If you didn't want those things, why buy a sports car? Similarly, if you didn't want an academic press book, don't buy one.

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.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Haraway and posthumanism 19 April 2010
By M. L. Galbreath - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Donna J. Haraway's _When Species Meet_ is a great resource for anyone interested in animal/human relations in the context of posthumanism. Haraway has always been an astute observer of social/political/natural interactions, and this book follows in the same tradition. No ideology is safe from her questioning mind as she explores the science and ethics behind industrial food animal farming, the use of animals in biomedical research, and pedigreed animal breeding.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book and pleasant read 14 Jun. 2014
By John Moran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Although the topic (pets) seems a specialized interest--although of course Haraway makes the obvious point that household companion species are enormously important in the US--this is a major treatise by one of the foundational thinkers in a major transformation taking place in the social sciences and humanities, "the animal turn" "new materialities" "posthumanities" etc. Essential reading to anyone interested in the future of environmentalism and feminism.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Reading the last chapter, and when I encountered the ... 20 Aug. 2014
By Train Reading - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading the last chapter, and when I encountered the phrase of Haraway, "I had found my nourishing community at last," my heart pit-a-patted. And I was reminded my own community, how delightful it is to eat with them. Reading Haraway, I learn too much, with never settled stomach. Touching it is.
32 of 85 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for the Practical, Narrative-Bound Reader 8 July 2009
By Political Critic - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Donna Haraway has become something of a rock star-legend among certain academic circles and it is clear to see why - she writes (perhaps unintentionally, and yet unmistakably) only for other academic readers (an exclusivity that always gratifies insecure academic types).

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. Which ultimately leaves this work considerably lacking (although certainly a step up from her previous writing).

Bottom line - she is quite a formidable thinker and there are some interesting gems and nuggets to be found in Haraway's work that makes her a good read for academics in animal studies, ecofeminism, history and philosophy of science, etc. But even those finally amount to an ethical philosophy of wanting people to live in the "knot" and the "encounter" and to move away from thinking about individuals as distinct, separate beings (such as human vs. non-human animal). While that may be academically interesting, it doesn't translate very far into an ethical framework that is workable/livable for the average person today. So it sounds good in the world of the academy, but I ultimately don't know how far it will go towards making a difference in the real world.

If you're a non-academic (no matter how serious a reader you are), don't waste your time on Haraway. She'll reward you with page after page of digression and metaphor atop metaphor and you'll get a hardy dose of her as subject/character/voice/narrator without feeling as if you had really gained much from the encounter.
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