Donna Haraway


Donna Haraway : biography

September 6, 1944 –

According to Marisa Olson:

According to the article Cyborgs:

"Situated Knowledges"

"Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial PerspectiveFeminist Studies 14, no. 3 (Fall 1988) pgs. 575-599. sheds light on Haraway’s vision for a feminist science. This essay originated as a commentary on Sandra Harding’s The Science Question in Feminism (1986) and is a reply to Harding’s "successor science". Haraway offers a critique of the feminist intervention into masculinized traditions of scientific rhetoric and the concept of "objectivity". The essay identifies the metaphor that gives shape to the traditional feminist critique as a polarization. At one end lies those who would assert that science is a rhetorical practice and, as such, all "science is a contestable text and a power field" (p. 577). At the other are those interested in a feminist version of objectivity, a position Haraway describes as a "feminist empiricism". While the constructivist position, informed by post-structuralist theory, served as a strong tool for deconstructing the truth claims of hostile science by showing the radical historical specificity, and so contestability, of "every layer of the onion of scientific and technological constructions", it also resulted in a dismantling of any apparatus that might be used to effectively talk about the "real" world (p. 578). Making use of the history of feminist standpoint theories, Haraway suggests that there may be a way to reconcile what has been accomplished by the radical constructivist critique of the historical social implications of the rhetoric of science with a specifically feminist positioning with regards to the practice of science. To do this Haraway leaves aside the polarizing metaphor to explore the possibility of a metaphor of vision as one that might see us clear of an agonistic methodology and conception of objectivity in science.

"I’d rather be a Cyborg than a goddess"

The 1990s brought about the beginning of the cyborg era and Haraway is a constant contributor to the cyberculture that exists even today. Although Haraway’s writing endorses technology in her metaphor of the cyborg, it is equally critical of what technology can bring about. The idea that machines can contribute to liberation is something feminists and women should consider. Haraway writes: "Up till now (once upon a time), female embodiment seemed to be given, organic, necessary; and female embodiment seemed to mean skill in mothering and its metaphoric extensions. Only by being out of place could we take intense pleasure in machines, and then with excuses that this was organic activity after all, appropriate to females" ("A Cyborg Manifesto," 180). In spite of this phrase Haraway also wishes to not completely disassociate herself from ecofeminist values (3).