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Donna Haraway - Quotes

Communications sciences and biology are constructions of natural-technical objects of knowledge in which the difference between machine and organism is thoroughly blurred; mind, body, and tool are on very intimate terms.
Haraway, Donna.

One is too few, but two are too many.
Haraway, Donna.

I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess.
Haraway, Donna.

Gender is always a relationship, not a preformed category of beings or a possession that one can have. Gender does not pertain more to women than to men. Gender is the relation between variously constituted categories of men and women (and variously arrayed tropes), differentiated by nation, generation, class, lineage, color, and much else.
Haraway, Donna.

We're talking about whole new forms of subjectivity here. We're talking seriously mutated worlds that never existed on this planet before. And it's not just ideas. It's new flesh.
Haraway, Donna.

Think about the technology of sports footwear. … Before the Civil War, right and left feet weren't even differentiated in shoe manufacture. Now we have a shoe for every activity.
Haraway, Donna.

Technology is not neutral. We're inside of what we make, and it's inside of us. We're living in a world of connections — and it matters which ones get made and unmade.
Haraway, Donna.

Human beings are always already immersed in the world, in producing what it means to be human in relationships with each other and with objects. … If you start talking to people about how they cook their dinner or what kind of language they use to describe trouble in a marriage, you're very likely to get notions of tape loops, communication breakdown, noise and signal — amazing stuff.
Haraway, Donna.

Imagine you're a rice plant. What do you want? You want to grow up and make babies before the insects who are your predators grow up and make babies to eat your tender shoots. So you divide your energy between growing as quickly as you can and producing toxins in your leaves to repel pests. Now let's say you're a researcher trying to wean the Californian farmer off pesticides. You're breeding rice plants that produce more alkaloid toxins in their leaves. If the pesticides are applied externally, they count as chemicals — and large amounts of them find their way into the bodies of illegal immigrants from Mexico who are hired to pick the crop. If they're inside the plant, they count as natural, but they may find their way into the bodies of the consumers who eat the rice.
Haraway, Donna.

Feminist concerns are inside of technology, not a rhetorical overlay. We're talking about cohabitation: between different sciences and forms of culture, between organisms and machines. I think the issues that really matter — who lives, who dies, and at what price — these political questions are embodied in technoculture. They can't be got at in any other way.
Haraway, Donna.

Primates are a way into thinking about the world as a whole.
Haraway, Donna.

In the fine arts there are so many strong passions about illustration versus art, about didacticism versus pure art.
Haraway, Donna and Thyza Nichols Goodeve (Interviewer). "How Like a Leaf: an Interview with Thyza Nichols Goodeve." in: Lynn Randolph Essays.

… this metaphoric realism — or cyborg surrealism — is the excessive space of technoscience — a world whose grammar we may be inside of but where we may, and can, both embody and exceed its representations and blast its syntax.
Haraway, Donna and Thyza Nichols Goodeve (Interviewer). "How Like a Leaf: an Interview with Thyza Nichols Goodeve." in: Lynn Randolph Essays.

I loved biology and I seriously, passionately engaged with its knowledge projects: its materialities, organisms and worlds. But I also always inhabited biology from an equally powerful academic formation in literature and philosophy. Politically and historically, I could never take the organism as something simply there. I was extremely interested in the way the organism is an object of knowledge as a system of the production and partition of energy, or as a system of division of labour with executive functions.
Haraway, Donna and Gane, Nicholas (Interviewer). "When Have We Never Been Human, What is to be Done?" Theory, Culture and Society. 23. 2007.

It was never really possible for me to inhabit biology without a kind of impossible consciousness of the radical historicity of these objects of knowledge. You read people like Foucault and you’re never the same again.
Haraway, Donna and Gane, Nicholas (Interviewer). "When Have We Never Been Human, What is to be Done?" Theory, Culture and Society. 23. 2007.

Feminism was a complicated heritage, a place of urgent politics and a place of intense pleasures of being part of women’s movement. All that and coming to it as a scientist, and not any old kind of scientist but as a biologist, and as a Catholic refusing the church but never able to be a secular humanist.
Haraway, Donna and Gane, Nicholas (Interviewer). "When Have We Never Been Human, What is to be Done?" Theory, Culture and Society. 23. 2007.

Semiosis is bloody and fleshly and living out of some kind of inability to be very happy about a semiotics which is supposedly just about the text in some kind of rarefied form. The text is always fleshly and regularly not human, not done, not man. That was feminism then and it still is for me.
Haraway, Donna and Gane, Nicholas (Interviewer). "When Have We Never Been Human, What is to be Done?" Theory, Culture and Society. 23. 2007.

I'm interested in creatures that inhabit borderlands. Dogs inhabit the borderland between the civilized and the wildness that lies just beyond. Dogs are about unfreedom. Dogs are degraded wolves. They're about the realization of man's will in nature.
Haraway, Donna and Jonah Raskin (Interviewer). "Donna Haraway: Interview with a Dog Lover on a Dog Day Afternoon" in: Docstoc. Originally appeared in: Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California. September 14, 2003.

I am not voting for Arnold, though I have watched his movies and though I am not immune to the beauty of his body. Still, his is a hard, machine-crafted body — he's not my type — though I do also work out. I see Arnold as super boy. He has never really grown-up.
Haraway, Donna and Jonah Raskin (Interviewer). "Donna Haraway: Interview with a Dog Lover on a Dog Day Afternoon" in: Docstoc. Originally appeared in: Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California. September 14, 2003.

I'm not a romantic about dogs. I know that dogs — and human beings — have done vile things throughout history. In the colonial era, the Spanish used dogs to hunt and kill Native Americans. Dogs were like lethal guided missiles. Today, I think that we have an obligation to learn from dogs. I think that we can become better human beings by paying attention to the relationships that we're in with dogs. Together we can not only survive, but flourish. We can learn to be present and to be real.
Haraway, Donna and Jonah Raskin (Interviewer). "Donna Haraway: Interview with a Dog Lover on a Dog Day Afternoon" in: Docstoc. Originally appeared in: Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California. September 14, 2003.

We do not live in a "dog eat dog world." We live in a world of nuisances and complexities, not cliches. I think we've turned dogs into metaphorical vehicles for our own stupidities.
Haraway, Donna and Jonah Raskin (Interviewer). "Donna Haraway: Interview with a Dog Lover on a Dog Day Afternoon" in: Docstoc. Originally appeared in: Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California. September 14, 2003.

As a person cursed and blessed with a sacramental consciousness and the indelible mark of having grown up Irish-Catholic in the United States, I’m saddled with a kind of indelible understanding that the sign is the thing in itself. An implosion of sign and substance is part of living with a sacramental consciousness, the literalness of metaphor, the materiality of trope, the tropic quality of materiality, the implosion of semi-auticity and materiality always seemed the case about the world.
Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000.

Figuration is something also inherited out of that same tradition, as taking figures to be those who collect up and reflect back the hopes of a people. Figures are about collective yearning. Figurations somehow collect up and give back the sense of the possibility of fulfillment, the possibility of damnation, or the possibility of a collective inclusion in figures larger than that to which they explicitly refer.
Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000.

This next slide comes out of a Swedish feminist magazine, I call it "the Creation of Adam", and of course so did Michaelanglo, we have a whole series of reversals in this ectopic pregnancy that goes off-screen, literally. We have the female Adam, specifically not Eve reaching her finger to the interface with God, the computer and the keyboard, is the figure of God the fetus, or is that the Eve, that God is embracing, is that God or what?
Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000.

Now it’s possible to tell the evolution of the dog story in terms of dog-initiated use of human-provided resources, co-extensive with a history of the human species.
Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000.

I like much better the cartoon of the dog of perfect proportions, because of the joke it makes on the mistake of both relativism and universalism, the mistakes that are so built into our philosophical discourse that we don’t know how to do inquiry without remaking those mistakes. Perhaps our best hope is that we will remake those mistakes in interesting ways.
Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000.

Well, who is to say that diversity is to produce equality, what a strange illusion. What a remarkable idea. When I said that diversity is the name of the game of capital accumulation these days, I mean that as a kind of low-key descriptive statement. It is because of certain technoscientific endeavors which complicate the issues of diversity and political identity.
Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000.

We are in a dilemma for sure. I can elaborate but it’s not the same thing as getting any further. It’s a hard set of issues, because part of the way I work is through a barely controlled anger. The dilemma is actually rather similar to what I ended up having to think about in the "Cyborg Manifesto". There is no way out of the knowledge that the cyborg is a weapons project, it is about the production of the achievement of man as enhanced weapon system, as space explorer, as a Cold War project. It turns out, however, that the illegitimate offspring are perhaps more abundant than the legitimate ones, and that even in a valley of the monster one finds a great deal more, thank you, than the fantasies of totalitarianism. The fantasy of closed domination is just that: a fantasy.
Haraway, Donna J. Birth of the Kennel. European Graduate School. Lecture by Donna Haraway. August 2000.

My first job - I married my friend from the commune who was also very actively gay. We figured out ultimately that we wanted to do a little brother-sister incest, but we didn’t have any other model than getting married [laughs] - so we did! Anyway, we went to Hawaii together. Jay got a job inHonolulu teaching, of all things, world history. I trailed along as a faculty wife! Which was a very peculiar identity. I wrote some of Jay’s lectures, his lectures on China for example, what are you to do? I was unemployed and writing my dissertation.
Haraway, Donna and Harry Kunzru. "Donna Haraway Interview Transcript." in: Harry Kunzru.com (Archive). 1996.

Cyborg is not about ‘we have always already been cyborgs’, it’s about specifically mid and late twentieth century historical production.
Haraway, Donna and Harry Kunzru. "Donna Haraway Interview Transcript." in: Harry Kunzru.com (Archive). 1996.

It was inadequate. I wouldn’t write it that way now, and I was wrong - I wish I’d rewritten it. Partly what I was trying to say was that the body - the cyborg body that’s produced in this informatics of domination is a semiotic body. It’s a body made of signs - a body made of light. A body made of bits. On the one hand the cyborg body is a textual body.
Haraway, Donna and Harry Kunzru. "Donna Haraway Interview Transcript." in: Harry Kunzru.com (Archive). 1996.

So, nature is not a physical place to which one can go, nor a treasure to fence in or bank, nor as essence to be saved or violated. Nature is not hidden and so does not need to be unveiled. Nature is not a text to be read in the codes of mathematics and biomedicine. It is not the "other" who offers origin, replenishment, and service. Neither mother, nurse, nor slave, nature is not matrix, resource, or tool for the reproduction of man.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

...nature is, strictly, a commonplace.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Technological decontextualization is ordinary experience for hundreds of millions if not billions of human beings, as well as other organisms.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Haven't eco-feminists and other multicultural and intercultural radicals begun to convince us that nature is precisely not to be seen in the guise of the Eurocentric productionism and anthropocentrism that have threatened to reproduce, literally, all the world in the deadly image of the Same?
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

If the world exists for us as "nature," this designates a kind of relationship, an achievement among many actors, not all of them human, not all of them organic, not all of them technological.In its scientific embodiments as well as in other forms nature is made, but not entirely by humans; it is a co-construction among humans and non-humans. This is a very different vision from the postmodernist observation that all the world is denatured and reproduced in images or replicated in copies. That specific kind of violent and reductive artifactualism, in the form of a hyper-productionism actually practiced widely throughout the planet, becomes contestable in theory and other kinds of praxis, without recourse to a resurgent transcendental naturalism. Hyper-productionism refuses the witty agency of all the actors but One; that is a dangerous strategy-for everybody.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

The commonplace nature I seek, a public culture, has many houses with many inhabitants which/who can refigure the earth. Perhaps those other actors/actants, the ones who are not human, are our topick gods, organic and inorganic.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Theory here is exceedingly corporeal, and the body is a collective; it is an historical artifact constituted by human as well as organic and technological unhuman actors.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Other actors, human and unhuman, regularly resist reductionisms. The powers of domination do fail sometimes in their projects to pin other actors down; people can work to enhance the relevant failure rates. Social nature is the nexus I have called artifactual nature. The human "defenders of the forest" do not and have not lived in a garden; it is from a knot in the always historical and heterogeneous nexus of social nature that they articulate their claims. Or perhaps, it is within such a nexus that I and people like me narrate a possible politics of articulation rather than representation.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

It is our responsibility to learn whether such a fiction is one with which the Amazonians might wish to connect in the interests of an alliance to defend the rain forest and its human and non-human ways of life-because assuredly North Americans, Europeans, and the Japanese, among others, cannot watch from afar as if we were not actors, willing or not, in the life and death struggles in the Amazon.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Who speaks for the jaguar? Who speaks for the fetus? Both questions rely on a political semiotics of representation ... But for a political semiology of representation, nature and the unborn fetus are even better, epistemologically, than subjugated human adults. The effectiveness of such representation depends on distancing operations. The represented must be disengaged from surrounding and constituting discursive and non-discursive nexuses and relocated in the authorial domain of the representative. Indeed, the effect of this magical operation is to disempower precisely those-in our case, the pregnant woman and the peoples of the forest-who are "close" to the now-represented "natural" object. Both the jaguar and the fetus are carved out of one collective entity and relocated in another, where they are reconstituted as objects of a particular kind-as the ground of a representational practice that forever authorizes the ventriloquist. Tutelage will be eternal. The represented is reduced to the permanent status of the recipient of action, never to be a co-actor in an articulated practice among unlike, but joined, social partners.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Who, within the myth of modernity, is less biased by competing interests or polluted by excessive closeness than the expert, especially the scientist?
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

My crude characterization does not end up with an "objective world" or "nature," but it certainly does insist on the world. This world must always be articulated, from people's points of view, through "situated knowledges" (Haraway, 1988; 1991). These knowledges are friendly to science, but do not provide any grounds for history-escaping inversions and amnesia about how articulations get made, about their political semiotics, if you will. I think the world is precisely what gets lost in doctrines of representation and scientific objectivity.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Where we need to move is not "back" to nature, but elsewhere, through and within an artifactual social nature, which these very scholars have helped to make expressable in current Western scholarly practice. That knowledge-building practice might be articulated to other practices in "pro-life" ways that aren't about the fetus or the jaguar as nature fetishes and the expert as their ventriloquist.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

So, if the tree of knowledge cannot be forbidden, we had all better learn how to eat and feed each other with a little more sawy.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

Articulation is not a simple matter. Language is the effect of articulation, and so are bodies. The articulate are jointed animals; they are not smooth like the perfect spherical animals of Plato's origin fantasy in the Timaeus. The articulate are cobbled together. It is the condition of being articulate. I rely on the articulate to breathe life into the artifactual cosmos of monsters that this essay inhabits. Nature may be speechless, without language, in the human sense; but nature is highly articulate. Discourse is only one process of articulation. An articulated world has an undecidable number of modes and sites where connections can be made.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.

My files are replete with recent images of cross-species ape-human family romance that fail to paper over the underlying racist iconography.
Donna Haraway, The Promises of Monsters: A Regenerative Politics for Inappropriate/d Others. Lawrence Grossberg, Cary Nelson, Paula A. Treichler, eds., Cultural Studies (New York; Routledge, 1992) , pp. 295-337.