Book Review #3
March 26, 2003
Simians, Cyborgs, and Women The Reinvention of Nature
How did nature come about? Did it happen over night or was it a process that happened gradually over time? Donna Haraway, in a complex manner, addresses this issue in her book with a feminist perspective as she analyzes historical narratives, accounts, and stories about the creation of nature. She looks at several theories of famous theorists including Darwin's evolutionary theory, social constructionism, and Freud's body politic in order to justify her argument throughout the book.
Haraway believes and argues with insightful information that everything that exists is a form of construction in which one thing leads to the development of another and so on. She specifically targets women throughout her book when supporting her argument. For example,
"Teaching in women's studies classrooms is a historically specific activity. Such
teaching inherits, constructs, and transmits particular reading and writing practices that are politically complex. These material practices are part of the apparatus for producing what will count as `experience' on personal and collective levels in women's movement. It is crucial to be accountable for the politics of experience in the institution of women's studies. ......Women do not find `experience' ready to hand any more than they/we find `nature' or the `body' performed, always innocent and waiting outside the violations of language and culture" (Haraway, 109).
This particular situation is not an obvious feature when it comes to looking at the method of women's movement. It is the experience that women obtain which enables them to move forward in women's movement. It is constructed from one thing to the next, in which many different aspects such as experience are part of a process. It is humans that have constructed scientific evidence and then analyzed it and tested it over and over again. Haraway implicitly stresses that humans make what exists, things do not all of the sudden appear in front of us. She also talks about human bodies and how we make them, they do not pre-exist as many people believe. They are made through the process of intercourse between a man and a woman where a human organism inside a female comes to existence.
Haraway's book is ten complicated chapters full of many technical aspects about the evolution of nature through creation. While it is quite insightful, a lot of unfamiliar and technical language is used that can make the reading very frustrating. Identifying the specific argument Haraway is trying to make is not easy when digesting an incredible amount of complex information. It is a difficult book that addresses and investigates many theories critical to her argument that nature was constructed over time. If you have a lot of time on your hands, are interested in the development of nature, and are aroused by the enjoyment of intellectual challenges, I recommend this book.