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Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene

(Experimental Futures)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,085 ratings  ·  136 reviews
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 on ...more
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published September 19th 2016 by Duke University Press (first published August 25th 2016)
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Joshua Buhs
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 rea ...more
Oct 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
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, a ...more
Jan 27, 2020 rated it did not like it
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. femini ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theory
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.
Feb 20, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Academic dissertation twaddle. The language is verbose without saying much between paragraphs. It's elitist by way of vocabulary and jargon. ...more
Paisley Green
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
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 no
Derek Fenner
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
As seen at Alley Cat Books, "The Willy Wonka of critical theory is back." ...more
Nov 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Adam Johnson
Aug 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 mirr
Jacob Wren
Nov 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
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 imagin
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 cthuluc ...more
Feb 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Feeling blessed for having read this.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
Prema Arasu
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Really interesting book but I only understood like 15% of it
Aug 20, 2019 rated it liked it
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
Wolf Ostheeren
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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
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
Jul 16, 2018 rated it liked it
I’m torn between 3 and 4 stars. I wish I had read this when I was in school and had other people to discuss it with. The book takes a unique and critical feminist perspective on the future and how earths creatures might cope in those chaotic times. The language danced the line of being over the top for me and I found my mind wandering, forcing me to read and re-read many pages...or to just push forward acknowledging I wouldn’t absorb it all. I very much liked the Final SF chapter chronicling the ...more
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This was by far the best book I've read about moving forward in the face of the coming social and ecological calamities, and I've been looking.

This book isn't a straightforward read. It's kind of like Jazz- themes and motifs that repeat and loop back and intertwine and reinforce each other. There isn't a conclusion, per se, but there are many models and ideas and insights into how to, as she says, "Stay with the trouble."

I am looking into the rest of her catalog, and her students' catalogs. Sh
Daniel Collins
Oct 18, 2018 rated it did not like it
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.
Kate Savage
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"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 n
May 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: experimentovat
"The question of whom to think-with is immensely material."

"(...) the high stakes of training the mind and imagination to go visiting, to venture off the beaten path to meet unexpected, non-natal kin, and to strike up conversations, to pose and respond to interesting questions, to propose together something unanticipated, to take up the unasked-for obligations of having met. This is what I have called response-ability. Visiting is not a heroic practice; making a fuss is not the Revolution; think
Hayden Kesterson
Apr 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Love and rage are two emotions that Haraway calls us to embody as we learn to live and die well. Coincidentally, they are also the two emotions I oscillated between while reading this book. Any book about such a heady topic as how human meaning making and global biological processes intertwine is going to be a little vague. The complexity and particularity of the trouble of our world make this a necessarily speculative thing to try. But still, it seems Haraway could have done better than waxing ...more
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'll tell you this: When i read this it changed my life and the second time i read it is also changed my life. I wrote in my diary: I want to write the books that donna haraway writes. However if i read it again i would prob be more critical lol but i still think this book slaps and it gives me some hope for the future. IN conclusion: I still love her ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a good collection of essays, repetitive in parts but they build on each other as well. I really liked Haraway's SF story at the end! I also liked the chapter about her dog (because there's always at least one story about her dog). I think it was a more interesting meditation on companion species than the Manifesto. ...more
Karl Hallbjörnsson
Mar 13, 2019 rated it liked it
I like Haraway's style, she manages to be very entertaining at the same time she educates, illuminates and speculates. The similarites to Deleuze and other thinkers, bodily thinkers, such as Irigaray, are very apparent. ...more
Apr 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the most insightful books I've read in years. ...more
Lukas Fraser
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this made a big deal in my brain
Mar 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
I’m hoping to start studying in an STS (science and technology studies) program this September and have slowly been trying to introduce more writers into my reading list that are part of the broader STS discourse. Haraway is certainly one of the most cited figures in STS and she’s a part of the core reading in the program I hope to join later this year. I was drawn to Haraway during a period of my life when I was trying to better acquaint myself with the main currents of feminism, and Haraway dr ...more
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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 essay ...more

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43 likes · 13 comments
“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what stories make worlds, what worlds make stories.” 24 likes
“Make Kin Not Babies.” 8 likes
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