Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science

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Psychology Press, 1989 - Social Science - 486 pages
Haraway's discussions of how scientists have perceived the sexual nature of female primates opens a new chapter in feminist theory, raising unsettling questions about models of the family and of heterosexuality in primate research.

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User Review  - DarthDeverell - LibraryThing

In Primate Visions: Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science, Donna Haraway examines the literature of primatology in the twentieth century. In the course of her work, she draws ... Read full review

Primate visions: gender, race, and nature in the world of modern science

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In this book, Haraway (biology, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz) claims there is a Western white male bias in theories of human evolution and culture and discusses the problems facing female ... Read full review


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About the author (1989)

An influential historian of science and cultural studies theorist, Haraway attended Colorado College and then Yale University, where she received a Ph.D. in biology in 1972. More recently she has taught at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Haraway draws on poststructuralist, Marxist, feminist, postcolonial, and cultural studies theory to explore the political and social dimensions of science in order to reclaim it for ends other than social control. Axiomatic for her is that nature is not discovered and then objectively observed and described, but rather that it is actively constructed by a culture so as to serve certain political ends, even if these are not consciously articulated or known. Like Michel Foucault, Haraway believes that discourses of knowledge are always also discourses of pleasure and power. Haraway's first book, Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields (1976), is not as theoretically sophisticated as her next two books, which have had a significant impact on cultural, feminist, and postcolonial studies, and have been the subject of some controversy amongst traditionally trained scientists and historians of science. Primate Visions (1989) is an analysis of the gender and racial politics of primatology, the study of "man's closest relatives in the animal kingdom." One of Haraway's recent books, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women (1991), collects essays written between 1978 and 1989, including the important "Cyborg Manifesto," which argues for the necessity of a feminist science and technology, rather than the rejection of both fields, as advocated by many feminist utopians. Instead, Haraway calls for the further development of the "cyborg," a hybrid subject who deconstructs by combining distinct and unitary identities (human-machine, human-animal, etc.).

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