When Species Meet

15 Mar

Harraway, Donna – When Species Meet (książka)


Whom do we touch when we touch a dog? How does this touch shape our multispecies world?

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 more than 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.

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

“Donna J. Haraway flexes the mind of the reader as she finds the connections and reports on the dialogues between nonhuman animals and the human animals they meet.” —Booklist

“For animal lovers seeking books of substance, Haraway’s sensitivity and smarts make this a sublime choice.” —Northern Virginia Magazine

When Species Meet is a book that makes unexpected, enlightening (and occasionally infuriating) connections between questions we would often rather not answer.” —Isis

When Species Meet is a provocative resource for instilling curiosity about the meaning and implications of our multi-species co-existence.” —Space & Culture

“Haraway’s goal . . . is to tinker with power to make the human-animal connection deeper, sweeter, and more meaningful.” —Women’s Review of Books

“A brave, ambitious, and generous offering to anyone interested in understanding how human and non-human lives intertwine.” —Theory, Culture & Society

When Species Meet is a groundbreaking addition to theoretical work on bodies, animal studies, and technology. Although [Harway’s] answers as to how to proceed in these stickiest of situations may be unclear, she provides a framework for understanding human—animal entanglements in future scholarships. Haraway’s largest contribution is her scathing indictment of the fantasy of human exceptionalism throughout the book, arguing that humans, indeed, are always already multispecies entities.” —Journal of Communication Inquiry

“A rich, engaging and relevant book that deserves our attention. By highlighting the depth and entanglement of co-species relations, and by posing a tangible agenda for change that implicates us all, Haraway has crafted a work whose relevance lies beyond cultural theory and science studies.” —History of Human Sciences

When Species Meet is a hopeful book, full of quiet passion and desire. Never shrill, it refuses to offer readers any concrete programme for a more-than-human life better lived.” —Science as Culture

One of the founders of the posthumanities, Donna J. Haraway is professor in the History of Consciousness program 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.


Narrating Companion Species,

Susan McHugh



The discoveries of bacterial insertions in the human genome, escapes of modified plant genes into corn’s wild relatives, and mutations of Avian Flu into potential pandemics raise concerns about how bioethics remains largely (and inaccurately) premised on the control of discrete bodies like “selfish” genes. Stories of companionship, a term that derives from com panere, or those who break bread together, suggest a more workable baseline philosophical and scientific model. Whether in new evolutionary theories of cells as constituted by partnerships of formerly independent bacteria or more ordinary stories of people and pets training together for sports like canine agility, tales that focus instead on what happens between mutually domesticated messmates (and their inevitable problems with indigestion) demonstrate the alternate aesthetics required of current genomic understandings of our own as irreducible from other species.




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