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When Species Meet " #03: When Species Meetby Donna Jeanne Haraway
Synopses & Reviews
“When Species Meet is a breathtaking meditation on the intersection between humankind and dog, philosophy and science, and macro and micro cultures.” —Cameron Woo, Publisher of Bark magazine
In 2006, about 69 million U.S. households had pets, giving homes to around 73.9 million dogs, 90.5 million cats, and 16.6 million birds, and spending over $38 billion dollars on companion animals. As never before in history, our pets are truly members of the family. But the notion of “companion species”—knotted from human beings, animals and other organisms, landscapes, and technologies—includes much more than “companion animals.”
In When Species Meet, Donna J. Haraway digs into this larger phenomenon to contemplate the interactions of humans with many kinds of critters, especially with those called domestic. At the heart of the book are her experiences in agility training with her dogs Cayenne and Roland, but Haraway’s vision here also encompasses wolves, chickens, cats, baboons, sheep, microorganisms, and whales wearing video cameras. From designer pets to lab animals to trained therapy dogs, she deftly explores philosophical, cultural, and biological aspects of animal-human encounters.
In this deeply personal yet intellectually groundbreaking work, Haraway develops the idea of companion species, those who meet and break bread together but not without some indigestion. “A great deal is at stake in such meetings,” she writes, “and outcomes are not guaranteed. There is no assured happy or unhappy ending—socially, ecologically, or scientifically. There is only the chance for getting on together with some grace.”
Ultimately, she finds that respect, curiosity, and knowledge spring from animal-human associations and work powerfully against ideas about human exceptionalism.
One of the founders of the posthumanities, Donna J. Haraway is professor in the History of Consciousness Department 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.
"This eclectic, semi-academic volume is one part philosophical treatise, one part rambling memoir and one part affectionate look at a singular Australian sheepdog named Cayenne ('It's hard to be grumpy myself in the morning watching this kind of joyful doggish beginning!'). With intellectual precision and obvious enthusiasm, author and 'posthumanities' professor Haraway (The Companion Species Manifesto) delves into topics as diverse as the rigors of breeding purebreds, the ethics of using animals in laboratories and the grand leaps of anthropomorphism people use to justify thousands of dollars in medical care for a pet. A professor in the History of Consciousness program at U.C. Santa Cruz, Haraway's prose is rigorous but readable, her ideas backed up with generally clear examples; she can, however, veer into abstract academic language ('People and animals in intra-action do not admit of preset taxonomic calculation') and gratuitous digression (as in a distracting chapter on her sportscaster father). These complaints aside, Haraway's serious, challenging approach to the human-animal relationship web should prove a novel, gratifying read for animal-owning science and philosophy buffs." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
Book News Annotation:
Using a personal anecdote approach, Haraway (history of consciousness, U. of California-Santa Cruz) explores issues around companion animals--dogs really, but inclusivity is to postmodernism as objectivity was to modernism--and their significance for relations between humans and other animal species. Her topics include practices of love and knowledge in purebred dogland, bioethical angst and questions of flourishing, species of friendship, and becoming companion species in technoculture. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
This deeply personal yet intellectually groundbreaking work develops the idea of companion species and deftly explores philosophical, cultural, and biological aspects of animal-human encounters.
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