When Species Meet

Front Cover
U of Minnesota Press, Nov 30, 2013 - Philosophy - 440 pages

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.

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User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

In When Species Meet, Donna J. Haraway asks two questions, “(1) Whom and what do I touch when I touch my dog? and (2) How is ‘becoming with’ a practice of becoming worldly?” (pg. 3). She examines the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - karl.steel - LibraryThing

"I am not a posthumanist; I am who I become with companion species, who and which make a mess out of categories in the making of kin and kind" (19). (she is, rather, "nonhumanist": see 92-93) "The ... Read full review


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Page 365 - Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation (New York: Routledge, 1992), esp.
Page 148 - ... partly shared sense of breed history, structure, and function. These breeders are keenly aware of the need for selection on the basis of many criteria as holistically as possible to maintain and improve a breed's overall quality and to achieve the rare special dogs. They take these responsibilities very seriously; and they are not virgins to controversy, contradiction, and failure. They are not against learning about genetic diversity in the context of the problems they know or suspect their...
Page 147 - A minimum account of such companion species must include: the World Conservation Union's specialist groups who make assessments of endangerment; member zoos, with their scientists, keepers, and boards of governors; a small Management Group under the AZA; a database maintained as a Regional Studbook, using specialized software like SPARKS (Single Population and Records Keeping System) and its companion programs for demographic and genetic analysis, produced by the International Species Information...
Page 240 - Play is all motor activity performed postnatally that appears [our emphasis] to be purposeless, in which motor patterns from other contexts may often be used in modified forms and altered temporal sequencing. If the activity is directed toward another living being it is called social play.
Page 311 - He would appear each morning assembly and was waiting for us as we returned, jumping up and down and barking in delight. For him, there was no doubt that we were men... This dog was the last Kantian in Nazi Germany.
Page 28 - We oppose epidemic to filiation, contagion to heredity, peopling by contagion to sexual reproduction, sexual production. Bands, human or animal, proliferate by contagion, epidemics, battlefields, and catastrophes. Like hybrids, which are in themselves sterile, born of a sexual union that will not reproduce itself, but which begins over again every time, gaining that much more ground.
Page 147 - ... have very high coefficients of semiotic and practical inbreeding.12 Purebred dog breeders also value deep pedigrees, and they are accustomed to evaluating matings with regard to breed standards, which is a complex, nonformulaic art. Inbreeding is not a new concern. So what is so challenging about a SSP as a universe of reference? The definition of populations and founders is perhaps first. Discussions among engaged breeders on CANGEN — ie, people sufficiently interested in questions of genetic...
Page 347 - Rebecca Cassidy, The Sport of Kings: Kinship, Class and Thoroughbred Breeding in Newmarket (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

About the author (2013)

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.

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