User Tools

Site Tools


Translations of this page:


the global resource center for everyone interested in the thinking of Donna Haraway! This Wiki was started to support the participants in the Haraway Circles series of meetings at West Den Haag.

Please make an account and contribute to this resource. If you want to comment on an article, please Start a Discussion . If you would like to discuss more informally, you can join our discord server.


The Haraway Bookshelf

In our series of monthly meetings for 2022, we extend from our year-long series dedicated to the writing and thought of Donna Haraway “Thick Present: Donna Haraway and the Arts” with a programme of monthly reading circles, engaging deeply with the trouble of our contemporary condition and testing out new methods for synthesis and action. Specifically, as with the foregoing series, we will explore historical and contemporary understandings of humanity, nature, non-humanity and technology. We will read aloud together from pertinent texts, summon, express and engage with our responses together. Finally we will explore the power of art and fiction to help us provisionally synthesize some of what we are learning into new narratives which fortify and nurture our work.

Carrier Bag Theory and Practice

Historian Elizabeth Fisher’s Carrier Bag theory of evolution proposes a radical critique of how we are taught to understand history.  A counterpart to heroic narratives of linearity, conquest and progress bound to technologies such as swords, chisels and laser beams, the carrier bag emphasises the fundamental importance of carriage, containing and sheltering.  Ursula Le Guin made the concept famous in her short 1986 essay “The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction” in which she dedicated herself to develop Fisher’s non-heroic narratology in the spirit of Virginia Woolf’s desire to reinvent language “according to a new plan.”.

Here the Carrier Bag Theory encounters what Sylvia Wynter calls the 3rd event of existence, the fact, presence and practices of language which reveals that human being is not a noun but a verb, a praxis. Central to this praxis of being human is storytelling. In Wynter’s critique, all language acts are story telling which provisionally constitute society. Wynter provides a new name for this human being, which has no hegemony over other existence and, being praxis is radically contingent, emergent and heterogenous: homo narrans. Homo narrans, the story-telling being which always requires and implies the social context of telling, listening and responding, provides a carrier bag for the concepts and practices we will examine together in this series.

  • Technological advance has always been accompanied with utopian promises for the emancipation of humanity from drudgery. Ruth Schwarz shows that though the demands on women have transformed through recent history, they by no means have become fewer or less arduous.
  • - Federici’s key contribution to Marx’s critique of political economy is to introduce the concept of reproductive labour, meaning all the (usually unpaid) labour which is required to reproduce the capacity of the worker to work. This includes domestic labour in the home, including care work, responsibility for the bulk of which conventionally falls on women.
  • - On the edge of being human, when human being is barely bearable, Butler’s science fiction allows her to encounter the persistence of racism, colonialism and patriarchy in a highly technologized world with uncommon intimacy and emotional power.
  • Modern human life is entangled with and interpenetrated by technologies. Alaimo examines this new hybrid experience in all its complexity, especially with regard to medicine and new notions of health and disability.
  • Barca’s proposal to integrate the “Work of Nature” into the Theory of Value as argued by Marx, is profound and ambitious. Her analysis grapples intensively with the concerns of Federici, Haraway and Vivero de Castro and provides bracing new syntheses
  • From the Manifesto for Cyborgs to “Staying with the Trouble” Danna Haraway has expanded her explicitly socialist commitments to include all of life. Informed by Margulis’ symbiogenesis theory, Haraway attempts to trace out what a new (post-) humanist / humusimt politics might mean.
  • Rosa Luxemburgs warned that modernity will either progress to socialism or collapse into barbarism, is often repeated today. But what happens when elements of the struggle for socialism are reappropriated for Fascism. In “the Destruction of Reason”, Lukacs discusses how many of the insights of Marxism, denatured of their revolutionary commitment become weapons for reaction. In the face of the deligitimisation of reason and a romantic return to mysticism and belief, he affirms a critical commitment to reason.
  • - hooks is known as a poet, but some of her most important work is in rethinking education for a rapidly changing world, where social conventions are being radically disrupted. Over her long academic career, hooks developed a practice she called “engaged pedagogy” which allows students to help each other meaningfully integrate critiques of class, race and sexuality into their studies.
  • - Journalist and activist, Jones argued that the emancipation of Black women required attending to how they were synergistically “triply oppressed”, economically, racially and sexually, so that any emancipatory struggle could not be directed only to one facet but must simultaneously attend to all three oppressions and their interplay to succeed. This became one of the foundational theories which became known as intersectionality.
  • 11  Parapolitics III: New Institutionialities - Jane Addams
  • - Jane Addams was a philosopher, political reformer and pioneer of social work. Addams was know for her utopian “Hull House”, a place which provided unprecedented opportunities for social interaction among citizens of various classes and backgrounds. Hull House challenged standardised education and developed innovative methods to help participants develop independent critical thinking and expression.
  • Wynter radically rethinks humanism, decrying what she calls bourgeois mono-humanism and decolonizing it with Fanon to produce a dynamic humanism re-enchanted with its own always renegotiated contingency. Deeply concerned with technological and scientific advance, Wynter confronts the specialising and standardizing tendency of homo oeconomicus with the story-telling and meaning-making homo narrans.
bookshelf.txt · Last modified: 2023/02/26 16:47 by baruch