It is not clear who makes and who is made in the relation between human and machine. It is not clear what is mind and what body in machines that resolve into coding practices. In so far as we know ourselves in both formal discourse (for example, biology) and in daily practice (for example, the homework economy in the integrated circuit), we find ourselves to be cyborgs, hybrids, mosaics, chimeras. Biological organisms have become biotic systems, communications devices like others. There is no fundamental, ontological separation in our formal knowledge of machine and organism, of technical and organic.
from A Cyborg Manifesto (1985)
Donna J. Haraway is an American Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and Feminist Studies Department at the University of California. She is a prominent scholar in the field of science and technology studies, described in the early 1990s as a "feminist, rather loosely a postmodernist". Haraway is the author of numerous foundational books and essays that bring together questions of science and feminism, such as A Cyborg Manifesto: Science, Technology, and Socialist-Feminism in the Late Twentieth Century and Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Additionally, for her contributions to the intersection of information technology and feminist theory, Haraway is widely cited in works related to Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Her Situated Knowledges and Cyborg Manifesto publications, in particular, have sparked discussion within the HCI community regarding framing the positionality from which research and systems are designed. She is also a leading scholar in contemporary ecofeminism, associated with post-humanism and new materialism movements. Her work criticizes anthropocentrism, emphasizes the self-organizing powers of nonhuman processes, and explores dissonant relations between those processes and cultural practices, rethinking sources of ethics.
≈ 1.3 hours
Haraway’s A Cyborg Manifesto is a key postmodern text, widely taught in many disciplines as one of the first to embrace technology from a leftist and feminist perspective using the metaphor of the cyborg to champion socialist, postmodern, and anti-identitarian politics. She criticized traditional notions of feminism, particularly its emphasis on identity rather than affinity, and explored the potential of the cyborg concept in order to construct a postmodern feminism that moves beyond dualisms and the limitations of traditional gender, feminism, and politics. Until Haraway’s work, few feminists had turned to theorizing science and technology and thus her work quite literally changed the terms of the debate. This article continues to be seen as hugely influential in the field of feminism, particularly postmodern, materialist, and scientific strands. It is also a precursor to cyberfeminism and posthumanism and perhaps anticipates the development of digital humanities.
Terence McKenna, Rupert Sheldrake and Ralph Abraham
The Evolutionary Mind
What could have been the cause for the breakthrough in the evolution of human consciousness around 50,000 years ago? Part of the Trialogues at the Edge of the Unthinkable held at the University of California.