Making kin not babies

In “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Planatationoce, Chthulucene: Making Kin” Donna Haraway builds on her notions from “A cyborg Manifesto”. Focusing on the climate situation, she argues that the Anthropocene is a present threshold event to a new epoch which requires a new ethic and understanding of the human and its position; we must stop putting us beyond other species and realize that “no species, not even our own arrogant one pretending to be good individuals in so- called modern Western scripts, acts alone; assemblages of organic species and of abiotic actors make history, the evolutionary kind and the other kinds too.” (Haraway:159)

Using fiction as a constructive utility she introduces the term “The Chthulucene”.  Chthulu derives from the fictional world where it is a hybrid between human and animal. The monster symbolizes how worldwide tentacles “entangles myriad temporalities and spatialities and myriad intra-active entities-in- assemblages—including the more-than-human, other-than-human, inhuman, and human-as- humus” (Haraway:160)

This conception is for her suitable to af vein of SF covering the webs of speculative fabulation, speculative feminism, science fiction and scientific fact. She points out that it matters which stories tell stories. Her vision is to create a story big enough to gather up the complexities and keep the edges open for surprising new and old connections.

Instead of an ontological distinction between human and non-human, she presents a liquid world view in which all actors are equal and move in and out of each other in correlating influences. We are all both subject and object, nature and culture.

The cyborg is her proof of this belief; that there is no such thing as a human in the traditional western notion and thus no posthumanists either. Instead, we are all composites assigned to take care of the earth: “Cyborgs for Earthly Survival,”. To do so we must accept “the fact that all earthlings are kin in the deepest sense, and it is past time to practice better care of kinds-as- assemblages (not species one at a time)” (Haraway:161) Making Kin is the new ethical path to being around species where the uncanniness and strangeness is accepted – and the cyborg is a part of this: “Making Kin and not babies”

References:  Haraway, Donna: “Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantatonocene, Chthulucene:Make Kin” i Environmental Humanities vol. 6, 2015, s.159-165

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Maria O'Connell

Hi Katrine! Interestingly, Haraway sort of steps back the ‘not babies’ line in her book. Instead, she thinks women should get to decide whether babies are one form of kin they wish to make. She is more interested in all of us learning to survive together than in pushing anyone away. I love the reference to assemblages, a la Latour. How do you think she and Latour differ? How does she go beyond him?

Charlotte Grum

Hi Katrine and Maria. This is so interesting – please see my post on yet another take on Haraway and Latour. I do look forward to reading about the kin perspective, still wondering if this ethical Kin creature will produce more just co-existence? Referring to Chagani’s reflections on the ethico-political limitations of some posthumanist frameworks when it comes to “addressing conditions of injustice”, mentioned in my post.