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Experimental Futures

Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene

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In the midst of spiraling ecological devastation, multispecies feminist theorist Donna J. Haraway offers provocative new ways to reconfigure our relations to the earth and all its inhabitants. She eschews referring to our current epoch as the Anthropocene, preferring to conceptualize it as what she calls the Chthulucene, as it more aptly and fully describes our epoch as one in which the human and nonhuman are inextricably linked in tentacular practices. The Chthulucene, Haraway explains, requires sym-poiesis, or making-with, rather than auto-poiesis, or self-making. Learning to stay with the trouble of living and dying together on a damaged earth will prove more conducive to the kind of thinking that would provide the means to building more livable futures. Theoretically and methodologically driven by the signifier SF—string figures, science fact, science fiction, speculative feminism, speculative fabulation, so far—Staying with the Trouble further cements Haraway's reputation as one of the most daring and original thinkers of our time.

312 pages, Hardcover

First published August 25, 2016

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About the author

Donna J. Haraway

57 books871 followers
Donna J. Haraway is an American Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Department and Feminist Studies Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, United States. 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" (1985) 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.

Haraway has taught Women's Studies and the History of Science at the University of Hawaii and Johns Hopkins University. Haraway's works have contributed to the study of both human-machine and human-animal relations. Her works have sparked debate in primatology, philosophy, and developmental biology. Haraway participated in a collaborative exchange with the feminist theorist Lynn Randolph from 1990 to 1996. Their engagement with specific ideas relating to feminism, technoscience, political consciousness, and other social issues, formed the images and narrative of Haraway's book Modest_Witness for which she received the Society for Social Studies of Science's (4S) Ludwik Fleck Prize in 1999. In 2000, Haraway was awarded the Society for Social Studies of Science's John Desmond Bernal Prize for her distinguished contributions to the field of science and technology studies. Haraway serves on the advisory board for numerous academic journals, including differences, Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, Contemporary Women's Writing, and Environmental Humanities.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 225 reviews
Profile Image for Joshua Buhs.
647 reviews105 followers
March 21, 2017
A long time ago, Ursula K. Le Guin wrote a story. Its title was a mouthful: "The Author of Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the Journal of Therolinguistics." The book looked forward to later developments in science that identified communication in plants--we're living in that future right now--and an even more distant time: "And with them, or after them, may there not come that even bolder adventurer--the first geolinguist, who, ignoring the delicate, transient lyrics of the lichen, will read beneath it the still less communicative, still more passive, wholly atemporal, cold, volcanic, poetry of the rocks."

When I read that story--thirty or so years ago, about a decade after it came out--I thought that final idea was a bit silly, but then I thought the idea of plant communication was unlikely, too, Shows what I know!

Donna Haraway is not afraid to be silly, and so she picks right up with Le Guin. Haraway's fearlessness is usually alloyed with the worst forms of academic prose. Some times this works out all right--Primate Visions and Modest Witness were both interesting, despite their spectacularly bad writing. Reading them, I thought of a really smart mathematician, making jumps, covering steps that slower people could not quite follow: so she was saved because she was write and had interesting conclusions, even if they did not always follow from the evidence.

Here, Haraway is still making jumps, and I think she is probably basically right, but her conclusions are not so interesting, and this book feels poorly put together--a rushed assemblage of various articles, stitched together, rather than a cohesive whole. Some of the chapters are 60 pages long, some less than ten. And mostly she's making the same points over and over again, while continuously name-dropping--or, it might be said, tipping her hat to various people who have inspired her over the years. Although the book is short--under 200 pages, excluding the notes--there is a lot of repetition, and it could all have been said--and said better--in a much shorter compass.

Originally, I thought the book was going to make a different kind of science fictional allusion--to H. P. Lovecraft, and his cthulhu. But Haraway wants no part of that. Instead, she is invoking the Greek word chthonic, meaning the earthborn. It is a measure of her poor writing that she both says Chthulucene is a simple word, and that she repeatedly refers to the epic she is defining as tentacular--so Lovecraftian!--even as she attempts to distance herself from him.

The point she wants to make is that to see our common era as the Anthopocene or the Capitalocene is to inscribe in the name the selfsame thinking that has gotten us here: to a time of mass extinction, global pollution, and human immiseration. It is to insist on individuality and the mastery of humans over the world. When the fact of the matter is--humans have always been implicated in the world, part of innumerable numbers of interactions with organic and inorganic forms.

Anthropocene is an apocalyptic vision, that the world is being destroyed. Haraway wants us to know that life is going to continue. That there have always been crises. And that what we need to do is continue to make the world as good as we can in whatever ways we can. She especially thinks that art can be helpful in getting us to see the world in new ways--hence science fiction and Le Guin, and thinking of inorganic forms as, in some sense, alive. We cannot escape: we need to stay with the trouble.

What follows are various riffs on these themes. She discusses the language issue, and art. She touches on bits and pieces of a wider literature. Says that humanists and feminists need to think about global population, while acknowledging that population control measures in the past have been highly problematic. But there are no conclusions to any of these thoughts--which, I guess, it to be expected--nor is there a thorough engagement with the ideas. Rather, she passes each one quickly, mentioning it, moving on again, repeating it with no further elaboration, and moving on again.

She tells the story of treating her sick dog with a chemical that caused problems in humans, and the stress it caused her--but offers no ways forward for others who might go through similar situations. She dwells a lot on science fiction, and takes too much pleasure thinking of phrases with the initials S F: string figures, science fiction, speculative fiction, etc., and then bringing up topics tangential to the words--strong figures, ergo, let's discuss weaving.

Her real interest in this book seems to be looking at art projects that she finds interesting, that she thinks play with the various themes that she has identified--the relations between humans and other species and the need to build a better world, though acknowledging nothing will ever be perfect and no one is ever innocent, nor are their practices: everything is part of the problems, too.

In the end, what it seems like is that Haraway is a frustrated science fiction writer herself. That what she really wants to do is write a science fiction book, but she is afraid not everyone will get her points, so she wants to analyze it for everyone at the same time. The old fashioned "As you know, Glenn," info dump can be disguised as a work of academic criticism.

And, indeed, the conclusion of the book is a science fiction story of sorts, with Haraway imagining a future series of individuals who push the world in ways she prefers--in which friendship is at least as important as families, and humans acknowledge their connection to the wider sphere of living organisms; in which population is controlled, and women are liberated. Although through the rest of the book she rolls her eyes at futurists, she wants to be a futurist, too. For all her talk about staying with the trouble, she's trying to imagine a way out of it, too.

The problem, of course, is it is not clear how works of art will help. In "Modest Witness" she talked about what she called "diffractions," different ways of reading information, and of therefore pushing meaning in new directions, and that seems to be what she is up to here, but the point is never made very strongly, and the project so focused on the long term--and the complete reconstruction of social life--that it is hard to see how she thinks we should get from point A to point B.

Every book gives you the tools for how to read it; and more revolutionary works need to to invent their own vocabulary. But we still need translators, ways of shuttling between different ways of thinking. Too often reading this book, I felt like the un-bold adventurer, the one who did not take seriously geolinguistics, and I was listening to a conversation among rocks:

I could get some generalities, and these seemed repeated and, if not obvious, at least right-thinking, but there were other levels of communication from which I could not extract meaning.
Profile Image for c.
14 reviews19 followers
January 28, 2020
donna haraway is on some CLOWN SHIT. i think the notion of staying with the trouble is a good one, i love the way she troubles narratives, both are deeply important strategies for Being In This Troubled World, but it is deeply and profoundly whack to advocate for population control— wistfully imagining a future (how anti-chthonic; chthonic ones have no truck with the arrogant future projections of skyward-gazing man!) in which the world population has been curbed to a mere 2 or 3 million. feminists, haraway contends, “fear” to address the growing population because of racism, and couches this in vague language: is it fear of looking racist, or fear of being racist? fear of looking like white bourgeois imperialist subjects, or fear of engaging in white bourgeois imperialist discourse? haraway seems to uniformly mean the former, without considering that many of her fellow feminists in fact refuse to consider population control because it always the first strategy of eugenics, which is never not a tactic of oppression. in the last 15 years hundreds of women in american prisons have been sterilized, apparently voluntarily: but can there ever be a state of non-coercion in prison, and is it not SHARPLY telling that it is inmates who are one of the primary targets (others: disabled people, racial minorities, queer people, religious minorities) of eugenics practices? all this arises, arguably, from a belief in a cohesive and unified access to the material conditions of humanity bequeathed by the species label of homo sapiens. being truly anti-humanist, the other side of the coin of haraway’s multispecies feminism, should surely be a repudiation of the uneven distribution of humanity, which surely must come with an awareness of the fact that advocating population control is anti-humanist only in a crypto-genocidal way. (there’s an interesting generational aspect to her thought on reproductive freedom; whether it is more liberatory or resembles freedom of choice more to have or not have a child seems to be primarily a matter of generation and politics, and I do not imagine that haraway had to think, as a matter of personal choice, about the implications of bringing a child into this ecologically critical moment.)
and don’t @ me about this chthulu/cthulhu nonsense. you cannot conjure the image of lovecraftian horror and its ramifications for the human and then just wave it away as a joke. is it? CLOWN.
Profile Image for julieta.
1,138 reviews19.3k followers
March 1, 2020
Amé todas las posibilidades que plantea este libro, su lenguaje, su idealismo, su imaginación. Una maravilla para imaginar las posibilidades de actuar que tenemos en este mundo de tiempo presente, un poco desbordado, y ecológicamente en camino al desastre. Que la imaginación nos abra puertas, que nos abra posibilidades, aunque sea primero en el ideal, para tener una idea a concretar, a trabajar. Habla sobre la respons-habilidad. Sobre el crear parentescos con seres no humanos. Habla de organizaciones concretas, haciendo acciones concreta, para demostrar sus teorías. Es una teórica activa, o eso me pareció. No solo habla de una filosofía fuera de la realidad, sino que encuentra ejemplos para hablar sobre sus ideas.Es un libro original en todo sentido. Una filósofa, que se relaciona con la ciencia ficción, y toma tanto de Hannah Arendt como de Ursula Le Guin. Muy recomendado. Ecofeminismo en estado puro.
Profile Image for Jeremy.
149 reviews21 followers
October 26, 2016
I spend a lot of time looking for books like this one: books that point towards the new way of life that the earth so desperately needs. This is a tremendously inspiring read for anyone interested in the epochal changes confronting our world as climate change and ecological ruin take hold. How should we become, in the face of all that is gone and all that is coming? This book is a wonderful, provocative resource for thinking through this profound challenge.
Profile Image for Alees .
46 reviews46 followers
August 26, 2021
Mi ricorderò di te, Orchidea. Ti ricorderò

"I fiori di alcune orchidee sembrano api femmine.
Quando i maschi cercano di accoppiarsi, spargono polline.
Questa orchidea - l'Ophrys Apifera - fa i fiori, ma le api non ci vanno sopra.
L'ape imitata dal fiore si è estinta tempo fa.
Senza il suo partner, l'orchidea ha iniziato a impollinarsi da sola, una strategia genetica estrema che non fa altro che rimandare l'inevitabile.
Non rimane nulla di quell'ape, ma dalla forma del fiore sappiamo che è esistita.
E' un'idea di come l'ape femmina appariva all'ape maschio, un'idea interpretata da una pianta. Wow, vuol dire che... l'unico ricordo dell'ape è un dipinto opera di un fiore morente.
Mi ricorderò di te, orchidea. Ti ricorderò."

Colui che ricorderà l'orchidea è chiamato l'Araldo dei morti.
Il suo compito è memoria, generatrice di nuove consapevolezze e responsabilità.

Chthlucene. Sopravvivere su un pianeta infetto, è un testo che raccoglie una serie di pubblicazioni di Donna Haraway, già precedentemente date alle stampe, e una Fabula Speculativa inedita.
Il testo si apre con una immediata contestazione. Antropocene è una definizione che reitera e amplifica la retorica Sapiens: "una storia tragica in cui c’è un solo attore reale, un solo vero creatore del mondo... di certo un periodo così trasformativo per la Terra non dev'essere definito Antropocene!", e che la Haraway rielabora in Chthulucene: "due radici greche che insieme definiscono una tipologia di tempo-spazio utile per imparare a restare a contatto con il vivere e il morire in forma responso-abile su una Terra danneggiata e ferita".

Il titolo originale, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, a differenza di quello italiano, esplicita nell'immediato i punti focali della riflessione della Haraway.
Stare con il problema vuole dire in primo luogo affondare nel pozzo etimologico di trouble/problema per ripescarne i caratteri dimenticati di rimescolamento, proposta, ciò che si presenta davanti e, conseguentemente, stare nell'adesso, nel tempo dell'offesa, dell'arroganza, dell'estinzione, del solipsismo significa aderirvi, risiedervi, mescolarsi al disordine ricalibrando il nostro esserci nell'equilibrio di una tessitura collettiva fatta di memoria, relazioni, recupero; così come Making Kin individua la volontà di far germinare nuove relazioni parentali elettive, collaborative e di vicinanza imprevedibili, più ampie di quelle strettamente biologiche.
Intrecciare parentele inaspettate ci chiede sia di oltrepassare il lascito della filosofia antropologica del novecento, la rottura dei confini legnosi della Umwelt, sia l'antropodiniego.
La sim-poiesi è la proposta della Haraway, il con-fare, una contaminazione e assimilazione multispecie, sul modello della simbiosi biologica, una inter-azione tentacolare e concertata, per la rinascita della biosfera.

L'orchidea morente e l'ape estinta sono il paradigma di un'alleanza perduta, la con-presenza, per adottare il linguaggio di Haraway, che ha infestato la mie ossa in questo viaggio.
Il cammino nello Chthulucene si snoda tra storie di parole che si flettono, addensano, espandono, sprofondano nell'humus semantico per riaffiorare modificate, ibridate di colori come Farfalle Smeraldo. Parole multispecie, eversive, terrigne e muscose: rensponso-abilità, tempospettiva, con-pensare, con-fare, mondeggiare, in grado di frantumare categorizzazioni coloniali e oppositive, di rimodellare il pensiero, di innescare nuovi grilletti (sorrido) di apprendimento: "E' importante capire quali pensieri pensano altri pensieri, quali idee usiamo per pensare altre idee, quali conoscenze conoscono altre conoscenze".

Storie di Animali e Umani che resistono, in una spazialità corrotta ed esausta, e ne danno testimonianza, che trasferiscono reciproche conoscenze, si accordano in giochi di fili intrecciati, tesi e spezzati, avviluppati e tessuti che sbocciano in legami improbabili e vischiosi, simbiosi coralline ancorate alle reti neurali. Storie di creature estinte, derubate e ferite, storie interspecie, come quelle che amo immaginare per me stessa, in cui l'energia vivente si trasforma in poesia biologica, in biomi verdi che trasfigurano la pelle in scorza.

Per noi che viviamo nell'ombra del Tempo Profondo, attori inconsapevoli delle ere geologiche, essere Araldi dei Morti è un buon compito per esercitare il ri-pensamento.
Forse è il momento di abbandonare il sentiero di Prometeo e di mutare la forma Sapiens in quella di Hospes.
Profile Image for Anna.
1,682 reviews636 followers
February 9, 2019
Although it took a little getting used to, Haraway’s writing style was easier to read than I expected. This is the first book of hers I’ve tackled and quotations I’d come across in the past were generally oblique, to say the least. I can’t remember how I discovered the existence of ‘Staying with the Trouble’, but am usually up for commentary on the concept of the Anthropocene. Moreover, it has a distinctive cover and I’m not above being swayed by such things. The book is shorter than it looks, as a good 130 pages of the total are notes, bibliography, and index. The remaining 160-odd consist of meandering chapters on ideas of ecological regeneration through co-operative coexistence between people and other living beings. Haraway writes in a lyrical, elliptical style with a conversational tone, playing with words and frequently re-stating phrases. I neither loved nor hated this, so found my interest in the book waxed and waned with the content. The chapters are essentially structured around anecdotes, some of which I found more meaningful than others.

I most enjoyed the longest chapter, ‘Sympoesis’. The titular concept seems vaguely familiar from Austral, an excellent sci-fi novel, and Haraway goes into sufficient detail that the anecdotes become case studies. They are examples of the tentacular, interconnected approach to ecological understanding and regeneration through solidarity and art that she espouses. I wanted to call this a philosophy, but she deliberately describes it more in terms of practice. If I had to situate it philosophically, though, I’d suggest object-oriented ontology as described by Timothy Morton in The Ecological Thought. I didn’t find new insight into the Anthropocene as such. I liked Haraway’s comment that, ‘The Anthropocene marks severe discontinuities; what comes after will not be like what came before. I think our job is to make the Anthropocene as short/thin as possible and to cultivate with each other in every way imaginable epochs to come that can replenish refuge.’ However I was not convinced by her term ‘chthulucene’, which refers both to the Greek name of a spider and to Lovecraft’s cthulu. I believe it is meant to reflect that we’re all part of the same compost heap. (Wasn’t that a line from Fight Club?)

Haraway’s slogan for this era is ‘Make Kin Not Babies’, which I have a certain amount of sympathy for. A couple of my close friends have recently had babies and I like the idea of being their kin. Although I don’t want any children of my own, I’d like to play with and read to the children of my friends. The slogan is also intended to encourage communication and solidarity between groups more generally, beyond nuclear families and narrow interests. I found the string figures concept harder to grasp the usefulness of. Chapter 5 on the unpleasant, often cruel practice of deriving human oestrogen supplements from horse urine was the least satisfactory part of the book for me. Probably because it really was just a personal anecdote and because I thought it was common knowledge. I remember hearing about the practice as a child from an animal rescue charity. Haraway recounts her much more recent discovery of it to highlight how easily information can be overlooked, but doesn’t draw much in the way of lessons from the experience. Her conclusion seems simply to be ‘the world is complicated’, which is true but hardly novel.

On the other hand, I liked the final chapter much more. This consisted of speculative fiction about five generations of people called Camille, all of whom had a symbiotic relationship with monarch butterflies. What a conceptually delightful idea. This fictionalisation also meant that the book concluded on a note of clarity, by depicting Haraway’s vision of a better future. I didn’t find ‘Staying with the Trouble’ revelatory and the length was awkward; it might have been better further compressed or considerably expanded. Nonetheless, there was some vivid and interesting material to be found and Haraway undoubtedly has a distinctive voice.
Profile Image for Jacob Wren.
Author 10 books359 followers
November 2, 2019
Three short passages from Staying with the Trouble:

I think babies should be rare, nurtured, and precious; and kin should be abundant, unexpected, enduring, and precious.

Good stories reach into rich pasts to sustain thick presents to keep the story going for those who come after.

The Anthropocene marks severe discontinuities; what comes after will not be like what came before. I think our job is to make the Anthropocene as short/thin as possible and to cultivate with each other in every way imaginable epochs to come that can replenish refuge.

Profile Image for P.G..
144 reviews
May 25, 2017
If the Chthulucene had a hallmark preposition, it would be beside.

Donna Haraway, best known for her Cyborg Manifesto and When Species Meet, extends her call to learn to get on together in Staying with the Trouble. Drawing from the Greek roots khthon (earth) and kainos (time), Haraway coins Chthulucene as an alternative to the monikers Anthropocene or Capitalocene as labels for these turbulent times. The Chthulucene is both marked by an attentiveness to the earthly bodies around us, human and nonhuman, and by a commitment to staying present—not resigning to a nihilistic apocalypse or depending on a deus ex machina to lift us out of our troubled world. True to Haraway’s work on the cyborg, the Chthulucene elicits neither hope nor despair; rather, it is an imperative to make kin and be-with, a “fierce reply to the dictates of both Anthropos and Capital” (2). The work of making kin—with other humans and nonhumans, what Haraway calls “oddkin”—is multi-species, earth-bound, collective, and more important than ever. Haraway uses the acronym SF throughout her book and traces its possible meanings: “science fiction, speculative fabulation, string figures, speculative feminism, science fact, so far” (2).

These eight chapters explore examples of making kin in the Chthulucene, sometimes combining odd pairings to illuminate the importance of situated engagement with those around us. Many of Haraway’s chapters focus on companion species: for instance, chapter one deals with the co-evolution of pigeons and humans and how recuperative projects create entanglements “that might, just barely possibly, render each other capable of a finite flourishing” (16). This sort of hedging statement pervades Staying with the Trouble: our interspecies relationships are complex, rewarding, and full of possibility, but they are not a panacea for the Anthropocene trouble to which Haraway alludes. Other multi-species forays include chapter three, which uses holobionts (symbiotic interspecies assemblages) and scientific-artistic endeavors to extoll the possibilities of sympoiesis, or “making-with”; chapter five, which weaves aging dogs, pregnant horses, and menopausal women together with the unusual thread of urine, tracing “bodily ethical and political obligations” to urge readers to cultivate response-ability to others (115); and chapter seven, which uses animal breeders to demonstrate human-animal entanglement and codependence. Each of these examples echo Haraway’s call to “significant otherness” from her Companion Species Manifesto. At the same time, she satisfyingly demonstrates that being-with is a messy process imbricating “a very big litter whelped in shared but nonmimetic suffering and issuing in movements for flourishing yet to come” (114).

Other chapters are thematically linked by science fiction and the movement to kinship over reproduction. Chapter eight, contains Haraway’s own science fiction story, tracing multiple generations of Camilles (monarch butterflies) and the people around her in an almost-apocalyptic setting. Chapter six, which analyzes science fiction, discusses Ursula K. LeGuin’s “The Author of the Acacia Seeds” and Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, then ants and acacia trees, to again explore narrative and biological sympoiesis. Still, though Haraway clearly admires these case studies of coexistence, she cautions, “Symbiogenesis is not a synonym for the good, but for becoming-with each other in response-ability” (125). One way to do this is to commit to making kin. For Haraway, “all earthlings are kin in the deepest sense, and it’s past time to practice better care of kinds-as-assemblages (not species one at a time). Kin is an assembling sort of word. All critters share a common “flesh” laterally, semiotically, and genealogically” (103). Chapter four, by far the shortest and least-developed, gestures towards Haraway’s pithy slogan, “Make kin, not babies!” as a distillation of this idea.

Though Staying with the Trouble covers a lot of diverse ground, practicing the “tentacular thinking” of chapter two, it effectively builds on Haraway’s past work on cyborgs and companion species and applies her theoretical frame to various multispecies practices. It’s not a manifesto so much as an exhortation that a better world is possible only if we commit to sympoietic, non-anthropocentric relationships like some of the ones outlined in this text. To do any differently in the Anthropocene/Capitalocene would just recreate the conditions that caused our planetary troubles in the first place. These relations aren’t a cure-all, but they are a way to make life more bearable, according to Haraway. What else can we do in the face of potential planetary destruction? Though strange, the term Chthulucene nicely encapsulates this on-the-ground approach and commitment to the present, envisioning another world in this one. However, despite her references to science fiction and popular culture, Haraway only pays lip service to the most obvious allusion contained within Chthulucene—Cthulhu, the ancient monster of Lovecraft’s cosmic horror. Haraway dismisses this connection only in chapter four, calling Cthulhu a “misogynist racial-nightmare monster” and asserts that Lovecraft could have never imagined all of SF’s possibilities (101). There are other potentials for engaging with this literary allusion, namely the invocation of cosmic horror that Haraway’s chthonic approach challenges, and that undeveloped thought hangs, for me, over every invocation of the Chthulucene.

Another misstep with this book that Haraway does not engage with the material or planetary as significantly as she engages with the animal. Particularly when invoking the Anthropocene, a term associated particularly with climate change, Haraway could have discussed the ways that interspecies relations might do anything other than just make life bearable in troubled times. It seems that the “flourishings” Haraway desires are not enough, like wishing for a great conversation and drinks while a meteor streaks towards Earth. There has to be more than a sense of everyday getting-on, more than a sense of activism contained in art, more than mere attunement or awareness, when dealing with the times that we name the Anthropocene or the Capitalocene.

Still, Haraway’s Chthulucene is a valuable one for thinking about kinship bonds beyond the human or the divine; for cultivating attunement to how our actions or needs affect other beings’; and for resisting either hope in technofixes or apocalyptic despair in our relations. Likely best imbibed after other foundational Haraway works, Staying with the Trouble is a satisfying continuation of Donna Haraway’s scholarly thought on multispecies symbiotic assemblages that expands her work on companion species and gestures towards how we can create a larger, queerer family beyond the merely human.
Profile Image for Charlie.
4 reviews
February 21, 2017
Academic dissertation twaddle. The language is verbose without saying much between paragraphs. It's elitist by way of vocabulary and jargon.
Profile Image for Adam Johnson.
75 reviews2 followers
August 19, 2019
This is a fascinating book, albeit one too wrapped in the dense wordplay that seems to be so favoured in cultural theory to be a full 5 stars.

The ideas, however, are most definitely next level brilliant. The idea of symbiosis, of the human and its companion species, the tentacular, the hope beyond the dreaded and tired notion of the Anthropocene. And this is not a vain, extractive, exploitative hope, but a hope built on Haraway's mantra of "staying with the trouble". It's a thought that is mirrored in Stephen Jenkinson's work, albeit plays out differently. It's also another spin on the work of Charles Eisenstein.

All of this work is vital for the building up of what just might be a radically different worldview, a worldview that is achievable in the face of current devastations.

If you can read through and past the alliteration, punning and textural references, then you will find some very original thinking here. I highly recommend you do so.
Profile Image for Markus.
13 reviews6 followers
April 3, 2019
If you read this book while doing drugs, Donna Haraway's dog will physically manifest in your living room and lecture you about the sympoeitic relation of colonial masculinity, carrier pigeons and the military industrial complex.

I'm not sure if this lose collection of essays and speculative fiction just keeps making the same, kind of wonky, kind of obvious point or if it went all over my head. not my cup of tea.
Profile Image for Natasha.
41 reviews1 follower
August 20, 2019
if I drank every time the word "critter" appeared in this book I would be dead

if I drank every time the sentence "composting is so hot!" appeared in this book I would be at my Optimal Buzz
Profile Image for Lucas Sierra.
Author 2 books450 followers
August 24, 2022
El vínculo indeleble (Necesidad de contacto) (Reseña, 2022)

(También disponible en: https://cuadernosdeunbibliofago.wordp... )

Escribo esta reseña frente a un grupo de jóvenes animales humanos que dibujan animales no humanas en vía de extinción. Nacieron, quienes dibujan, después del año dos mil. Son hijos, hijas e hijes de este nuevo milenio e intuyen, con mayor o menor claridad, la oscuridad que les espera. Saben que los polos se derriten. Saben que la riqueza del mundo está en un puñado de manos. Saben que de nada sirve no usar pitillos o moverse en bicicleta si la menor de las Kardashian sigue viajando en avión privado tres veces por semana. En ocasiones creen saber que no hay salida.

Pero existen. Lo tienen que elegir a diario, a veces dolorosamente, pero lo eligen. Al menos hasta ahora, lo eligen. Al menos mientras escribo esto, lo eligen. Y no es una elección fácil, aunque su juventud les ayude. Es una elección en la que se juegan la vida. Ahora escriben sobre los niños, las niñas y les niñes del compost. Ahora escriben desde y sobre y para esa esperanza extraña que Donna Haraway quiso compartirnos.

Que este taller sea posible es culpa de la generosidad de Haraway, es culpa de su deseo de insistir en seguir otra vez con el problema, es culpa de su obra y su pasión y su vida que consiguen comunicarse en la escritura. Que un grupo de jóvenes escriba frente a mí y que genere parentescos raros (con pandas, ajolotes, cóndores, corales, peces luna, leopardos, linces, mariposas, abejas, koalas, guacamayas y osos de anteojos) a través de un ejercicio de ficción especulativa es culpa suya. Y mía, claro, que leyéndola me dispuse a la simbiosis y que subterráneamente, usando el micelio extraño de la literatura, conecté con ella.

No se me ocurre mejor elogio para un libro que mostrar las acciones que desencadena (¿o que encadena?) en la vida. Mi práctica docente, mi escritura, mi pensamiento y mi cotidianidad son otras luego de Haraway. Leerla me recordó las experiencias comiendo hongos, en el sentido de la potente superficie de contacto que sus reflexiones crean. No quiero, en este espacio, demorarme en la prédica sobre sus propuestas, quizás luego exista un escenario propicio para eso, por ahora callo para dejar que la curiosidad fluya. Importa que silencios acompañan silencios.

Ahora baste afirmar: Seguir con el problema genera parentesco. La literatura genera parentesco. Para mí ese hallazgo es vital.
October 18, 2018
It's far too late in the game for obscurantism.

We have to act now to avoid climate catastrophe, pushing for a revolution, not playing "string figure games" and pretentious art projects with pigeons.
Profile Image for Derek Fenner.
Author 4 books22 followers
February 7, 2017
As seen at Alley Cat Books, "The Willy Wonka of critical theory is back."
Profile Image for Ryan.
74 reviews20 followers
October 9, 2020
Haraway is a creative and apparently-useful thinker whose practical utility is handicapped by her mediocre talent for writing. When it shines, she can take sentences and rhetoric you’ve heard a thousand times before and change their meaning like Pierre Menard and the Quixote. More often, she ties together ghastly compound words with the artistry of a beaver gnawing at a tree. She is so grammatically repetitive as to cast doubt on her biotic and abiotic symphonically-sympoeitic tentacular cthulucenic kinmaking conceptuation.
Profile Image for Rachel.
21 reviews
April 9, 2022
Hopefully I’ll have the time and energy to write a longer review later. I read this because it was a course reading and I saw some critiques of it invoking eugenic ideas and wanted to be able to engage with them properly. Indeed, especially as a person who’s researched the history of eugenics, I was troubled and angry to read Haraway’s advocacy of population control and lowering human population numbers. This is old eugenicism dressed up in modern concern for non-human others. I liked the general ideas of staying with the trouble and learning to inherit and live fruitfully in light of our messy and difficult histories, but can’t abide by the slogan to make kin, not babies. I was especially disconcerted in the excerpt where Haraway imagines a “better” world where “although discouraged in the form of individual decisions to make a new baby, reproductive freedom of the person is actively cherished”(p.139). To me this reads like huge cognitive dissonance - how is it possible to actively cherish reproductive freedom while also actively discouraging a specific reproductive choice?

Anyway, I suppose it was an interesting read, but I’m quite critical and disappointed with what I’ve read here. Didn’t seem particularly insightful or novel and it did feel repetitive and divorced from larger context, historical and material and systemic.
Profile Image for Elisa Lipari.
16 reviews84 followers
August 5, 2020
Ho iniziato a leggere Chthulucene con tanto timore di non capire e perdermi pezzi per strada, prima di affrontarlo mi sono avvicinata trasversalmente alle teorie di Haraway per arrivare preparata. Chthulucene racconta un mondo in cui vorrei vivere, o meglio visto che i tempi di miglioramento del mondo sono più lunghi della vita che posso vivere, un mondo che vorrei possa esistere da qui ai prossimi duecento anni. Ma la rivoluzione dell'antropocene e i suoi disastri va arrestata ora e Chthulucene riassume spunti e posizioni che non posso più essere ignorati
Profile Image for Jeff.
40 reviews6 followers
November 1, 2016
Absolutely essential for anyone doing regular science/STS (like all of Haraway's work) and if a sentence like "Chthonic ones romp in multicritter humus but have no truck with the sky-gazing Homo" doesn't make you want to read it, I don't know what will.
Profile Image for Christopher.
Author 2 books91 followers
December 24, 2016
I love the argument but feel in order to have an impact it must be more direct. John Gray makes a very similar point and can do what you find in this entire book in about 5 pages. That being said, spread out as the prose is it is very well crafted.
Profile Image for Diletta.
Author 7 books180 followers
August 27, 2020
Eliminare il centro, togliere i confini e utilizzare finalmente la narrativa speculativa femminista e fantascientifica, direi bene, benissimo. Sono soddisfatta ma anche sopraffatta. Quindi sempre bene, benissimo.
Profile Image for Stef Rozitis.
1,458 reviews70 followers
November 12, 2021
This book certainly made me think and I thank Haraway for that. I think it will be more useful for my creative writing than my thesis or present or future research but it was certainly an interesting and provocative read.

At times I thought the writing lacked the courage of its convictions, whenever it went back to romanticising "relationships" of exploitation between humans and others. I also founf the lengthy Camille chapter unedifying though I appreciated the weird pronoun. There was a needless celebration of artificiality, I feel there could have been more nuance in rejecting the idea that everything can be "natural".

That said, I liked the course this book steered between passive hope and passive despair, the celebration of being active- an agent come what may and not losing sight of the ideals of the best possible world for me and more-than-me. I did not know many of the specifics this book outlined of actions and projects from around the world and I had not read the interesting scholariship it cited.

At times I wondered if the idea of arts/creativity was being used fetishistically (as others have done with spirituality or science), that we can hide from the pain in our creativity...but then that I suppose is something I do anyway so to critique it raises questions about what on earth I am doing. I'd recommend this book to most people, and I will see if my son wants to read it next (some universities have an ebook version).
Profile Image for Gabriela Ventura.
294 reviews104 followers
May 18, 2019
Uma coisa bacana de acompanhar a trajetória de uma intelectual ao longo das décadas é poder observar o desenrolar de seus argumentos e o escopo de seus interesses. Donna Haraway tem a minha atenção desde que eu li O Manifesto Ciborgue (que é mais velho do que eu um ano, mas cujo texto só fui conhecer há cerca de uma década).

Staying with the trouble é uma coleção de artigos não para os profetas e entusiastas do apocalipse do Antropoceno e do Capitaloceno, mas para os que pretendem resistir e salvar o que conseguirem - os que pretendem ficar e olhar o problema onde nos enfiaram (porque não sei vocês, mas eu tô escrevendo do ponto de vista dos 99% - posso até ser culpada por meia dúzia de canudos de plástico no oceano, mas tô longe de ser acionista de uma megacorporação transformando recifes de coral em cemitérios).

Haraway é sempre brilhante, e os exemplos e interlocutores que ela chama para o texto são interessantes e variados. Ela também é muito boa para slogans - decidi adotar "Make kin! Not babies!" para a vida.

No entanto, tem uma coisa com a qual implico, e acho que sempre implicarei nos livros dela. Eu acho a Haraway apaixonada demais por filigranas de terminologia, especialmente as que ela inventa ou tenta fazer emplacar. Isso às vezes é bastante irritante, e compromete a legibilidade do texto.

Profile Image for Beatrice (carvi bee).
8 reviews5 followers
January 10, 2021
È importante capire quali relazioni mettono in relazione altre relazioni. È importante capire quali storie raccontano altre storie.
Profile Image for Kate Savage.
657 reviews114 followers
March 1, 2020
"Chthonic ones are beings of the earth, both ancient and up-to-the-minute. I imagine chthonic ones as replete with tentacles, feelers, digits, cords, whiptails, spider legs, and very unruly hair. Chthonic ones romp in multicritter humus but have no truck with sky-gazing Homo. Chthonic ones are monsters in the best sense; they demonstrate and perform the material meaningfulness of earth processes and critters. They also demonstrate and perform consequences. Chthonic ones are not safe; they have no truck with ideologues; they belong to no one; they writhe and luxuriate in manifold forms and manifold names in all the airs, waters, and places of earth. They make and unmake; they are made and unmade. They are who are. No wonder the world’s great monotheisms in both religious and secular guises have tried again and again to exterminate the chthonic ones. The scandals of times called the Anthropocene and the Capitalocene are the latest and most dangerous of these exterminating forces."
One downside to reading this book is I'd find myself on public transportation weeping about lemurs and bees.

But the upside is a jubilant sense of feeling understood and deepening my understanding. This serious consideration of the more-than-human playful-deadly overabundant earth! Haraway almost convinces me to return to academia (until I remember the work of this sort of academia happens in uncomfortable rooms and not in swamps and spider dens).

There are also some repetitive elements. In the case of repeating sentences across an essay, I feel this is Haraway returning to words as a way of weaving together meaning. In the case of repeated paragraphs across separate essays, I think it's just bad editing.
Profile Image for Lobo.
611 reviews64 followers
February 12, 2017
Uwielbiam Haraway, jej styl i wyobraźnię. Czytanie jej to przyjemność i przygoda. Nie jestem aż tak wielką fanką Manifestu Cyborgini, bo widzę, jak ta koncepcja połyka własny ogon, jej rewolucyjny potencjał został wchłonięty przez popkulturę i przerobiony w seksistowskie obrazy cyberpunku. Ale Manifest Gatunków Stowarzyszonych jest otwierającym oczy doświadczeniem i etyczną wykładnią bycia w świecie, o którym się fenomenologom nie śniło, a już na pewno nie tym, którzy byli nazistami. "Staying with the trouble" to rozwinięcie Manifestu Gatunków Stowarzyszonych w jego etycznym i praktycznym aspekcie. Haraway obnaża już istniejące związki i powiązania pomiędzy ludźmi, a resztą form życia na Ziemi, nie ucieka od faktu, że nie zawsze są to relacje pozytywne, co wyrażania koncepcja "życia i umierania razem", tego, że "wyginięcie gatunku" nie jest aktem tylko procesem, w którym uczestniczy wiele stron. Badaczka nie traktuje jednak "umierania razem" jako zgody na ingerencje ludzkości w ekosystem Ziemi, ale optuje za zajęciem etycznej postawy odpowiedź-alności, tj. uczestnictwa w dialogu, uwzględniania innych stron w naszych działaniach. Najbardziej przemawia do mnie jej uwaga, że żywienie nadziei stanowi polityczny akt w świecie, który pogodził się z własną zagładą. To bardzo dojrzała, trudna, pięknie napisana praca, która powinnam stanowić podstawę wykładni etycznej XXI wieku.
Profile Image for Wolf Ostheeren.
147 reviews13 followers
May 3, 2020
"Cultivate the wild virtue of curiosity"

I love this book. It's the first by the author I've read cover to cover since the "Companion Species Manifesto", which I've read several times and very much like that, it gave me a lot to think about- and think with. I love the way fact and fiction breed stories in Haraways writing, and there's a lot of that here. I'm glad I realised only half way through that the book is adapted from previously published papers, I might have given it a pass had I known. A little more editing could have made it more into "one book", there are a few things that come up several times- but those repetitions might just as well be intended, as they are of things worth repeating. So, if you're interested in living and dying well with other species on a damaged planet and ready to face that there are no simple solutions (this is so not a manual or rulebook!), read this. It's amazingly readable for all the complexity of the matters it touches, even as an audiobook (I bought a paperback after chapter 2 anyway, for rereading passages and easier access to the literature quoted)
Profile Image for Guillermo.
235 reviews88 followers
February 15, 2020
‪Probablemente el libro que más cosas me ha hecho replantearme en mi vida. Enfoques, cambios y acción. Leedlo.‬
Profile Image for leni.
209 reviews19 followers
April 19, 2020
I have not read the entire book but rather the chapters relevant to my master thesis. I will read it in its entirety at some point because it is extremely interesting!

Current rating: 4/5 stars
Profile Image for Kasia.
146 reviews2 followers
March 22, 2023
My favourite chapter was the last one “The Camille Stories” — which was basically Haraway writing sci-fi
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