Multispecies Cosmopolitics: Staying with the Trouble

2013 Distinguished Lecture with Donna Haraway


As the IHR’s 2013 Distinguished Lecturer, Donna Haraway, Distinguished Professor Emerita of the History of Consciousness Program at the University of California, Santa Cruz and author of "Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: the Reinvention of Nature," called upon her audience to work, play and think in terms of multispecies cosmopolitics, a new approach to recuperating the Terrapolis on which we live.

After centuries of genocides, environmental destruction and its unevenly distributed suffering, and rampant killing of species, as well as individuals, Haraway suggested that humans turn to SF - string figures, science fiction, speculative fabulation, speculative feminism - as mechanisms for envisioning the future.

Working homing pigeons provide guidance for SF thinking, especially as seen through the methodologies and theories of practicing zoo-ethno-graphers. Their investigations of multispecies attachment, detachment, inter- and intra- patience, and inter- and intra- action bring together the social sciences, humanities, arts, and biological and physical sciences and offer crucial tools and knowledge(s). However, these investigations also reveal stunning human ignorance(s) about how to inhabit the world with other animals, rather than to observe and control them.

The lecture concluded with examples of innovative projects that study both human and nonhuman workers engaged in linked effort in differentiated ways that none of our cosmopolitan knowledge traditions now know how to articulate, but must learn to do so.

In preparation for Donna Haraway's visit, the IHR is hosting a reading/discussion group in four-parts that will be led by Joni Adamson, Associate Professor of English and Environmental Humanities, School of Letters and Sciences, and Ron Broglio, Associate Professor of English, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The reading group will read and discuss selected essays, from the “The Haraway Reader” (Routledge 2003) and others, to explore the impact of Haraway’s work on social and academic thinking. Each meeting will take place from 12-1:30 p.m. in Social Sciences, Room 109 and occur on Nov. 29, Jan. 24, Feb. 7 and 21. The meetings are free and open to the public. Please bring your own lunch.

For further information regarding the 2013 Distinguished Lecture, please contact the IHR at or 480-965-3000.

Click here to view the video.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Carson Ballroom of Old Main

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