Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature

July 30, 2011

“Feminism, I suggest, can draw from a basic insight of critical theory. The starting point of critical theory- as we have learned it from Marx, the Frankfurt school, and others- is that the social and economic means of human liberation are within our grasp. Nevertheless, we continue to live out relations of dominance and scarcity. There is the possibility of overturning that order of things. The study of this contradiction may be applied to all our knowledge, including natural science. The critical tradition insists that we analyze relations of dominance in consciousness as well as material interests, that we see domination as a derivative of theory, not of nature. A feminist history of science, which must be a collective achievement, could examine that part of biosocial science in which our alleged evolutionary biology is traced and supposedly inevitable patterns of order based on domination are legitimated. The examination should play seriously with the rich ambiguity and metaphorical possibilities of both technical and ordinary words. Feminist reappropriate science in order to discover and define what is ‘natural’ for ourselves.”

-from “The Past is the Contested Zone: Human Nature and Theories of Production and Reproduction in Primate Behavior Studies.”

This is what I’m talking about when I tell you that Donna Haraway solved it already and the rest of us are just catching up: this essay was originally published in 1978, a year before I was even born.

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3 Responses to “Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature”

  1. jess s Says:

    yeah, basically.

    • jess s Says:

      i have a funny story about my (borrowed, 10 years ago) copy of this book but it feels inappropriate to post it on a blog comment!


      • I want to hear this story! If you e-mail it or facebook message it to me, I will tell you about the dream I had about your house, although the dream is only about a sentence long and I will tell it to you even if you don’t tell me this story. If you want me to.


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