In the midst of spiraling ecological devastation, multispecies feminist theorist Donna J. Haraway offers provocative new ways to reconfigure our relations to the earth and all its inhabitants. She eschews referring to our current epoch as the Anthropocene, preferring to conceptualize it as what she calls the Chthulucene, as it more aptly and fully describes our epoch as one in which the human and nonhuman are inextricably linked in tentacular practices. The Chthulucene, Haraway explains, requires sym-poiesis, or making-with, rather than auto-poiesis, or self-making. Learning to stay with the trouble of living and dying together on a damaged earth will prove more conducive to the kind of thinking that would provide the means to building more livable futures. Theoretically and methodologically driven by the signifier SF—string figures, science fact, science fiction, speculative feminism, speculative fabulation, so far—Staying with the Trouble further cements Haraway's reputation as one of the most daring and original thinkers of our time.
List of Illustrations ix
1. Playing String Figures with Companion Species 9
2. Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene 30
3. Sympoiesis: Symbiogenesis and the Lively Arts of Staying with the Trouble 58
4. Making Kin: Anthropocene, Captialocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene 99
5. Awash in Urine: DES and Premarin in Multispecies Response-ability 104
6. Sowing Worlds: A Seed Bag for Terraforming with Earth Others 117
7. A Curious Pratice 126
8. The Camille Stories: Children of Compost 134
"Staying with the Trouble is written with love and rage, making it felt what it takes not to turn one’s back against the demands of this terrible time which some dare to call the Anthropocene. Donna J. Haraway mobilizes the power of words, images, and tales to shake off the dual temptation of faith in providential technofixes and of bitter 'game over' pseudo-wisdom. Her book forcefully demands that we consent to participate in the ongoingness of the world."
Isabelle Stengers, author of
In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism
"Donna J. Haraway asks how to think-with, live-with, and be-with other planetary organisms in a world that does not forget how much ecological trouble it is in. This is not to lament at the world's destruction, but to see afresh what the possibilities of life have always been. Staying with the Trouble is at once a compelling sequel to a series of major works, a manifesto full of intellectual energy to put beside her famous Cyborg Manifesto, and at the same time only a momentary resting place in a life still committed to making us think."
Marilyn Strathern, Cambridge University
"In Staying with the Trouble, we find real SF: science fiction, science fact, science fantasy, speculative feminism, speculative fabulation, string figures, so far. So many ways to look at the world and ourselves, so many complicated ideas on how we critters will survive and thrive and die in the disturbing Chthulucene. Haraway is difficult to read. But the effort required is worth it."
Nancy Jane Moore
Cascadia Subduction Zone
"Chthulucene is not a simple word, yet it is a productive motif for Haraway. With it she laces ideas from urban pigeons, woolen coral reefs, writing workshops, Inupiat computer games, canine estrogen and Black Mesa sheep. The thready and the tentacular form the subject and the framework of her theory-making, as well as the structure of her writing."
"Staying with the Trouble is Haraway at her most accessible. Readers familiar with her work with recognize her characteristic style and language, polysemous metaphors co-mingle with evocative refrains, deep etymological readings, and even the occasional sentence with internal rhyme schemes. . . . This is a work to provoke and inspire. It is a call to arms (or pseudopods as the case may be)!"
"[W]e should take seriously the implications of kin versus family, of kin as encompassing all non-human relations. There is an ethics here, on a micro and macro level. Haraway is no moralist, but replacing 'human relations' with 'kin' arguably brings about a transformation in our hierarchies and priorities - why not care as much about a wildflower as you do about your niece? If it is not a zero-sum game, and let us hope it is not, we can make room for all kinds of lives, and all kinds of ways of living. Staying with the trouble is also a matter of sticking with all the things that currently live and will die alongside us, whether we cause it or notice it or not."
"Haraway models like few others deep intellectual generosity and curiosity. Staying with the Trouble cites students, thinks with community activists and artists, and writes alongside scientists and fiction writers. Haraway does not want you to read her; she wants you to read with her. She also insists on conversations with all kinds of storytellers: academics or not, humans or not, environmental humanities scholars or not."
Australian Feminist Studies
"The book enacts different forms of analysis and activism. It is not only that the book transcends disciplinary boundaries of biology, sciences studies, art history, philosophy and dense descriptions of political activism most often found in social sciences. These approaches are interwoven in a very rich and exquisite manner for which the author is well known."
"Haraway is probably as aware as a writer can be that what she has to offer at the moment is nowhere near enough to engage with all the ‘trouble’ that needs to be engaged with. All she can do, she seems to be saying, is to stay with it a while, worrying at the very edges of her capacity, and then pass it on. ‘We need each other’s risk-taking support, in conflict and collaboration, big time,’ is how she ends that infamous two-page endnote. ‘The answer to the trust of the held-out hand’, as she also puts it. ‘Think we must.’"
London Review of Books
"Staying with the Trouble is a kind of Whole Earth Catalogue of thought devices for attuning our senses to the damaged ecosystem of the still-blue planet. It makes It makes inspiring and imaginative use of science fiction, art projects, geology, evolutionary theory, developmental biology, science and technology studies, anthropology, environmental activism, philosophy, feminism, horticulture, linguistics, pigeon fancying, and many other ways of thinking and knowing about ourselves, our worlds, and the many imbricate relations through which life on earth comes into being and dies."
"In advancing an approach that is at once hopeful but grounded, attuned to the realities of history but open to the possibility of alternative futures—in other words, in adamantly insisting on 'staying with the trouble' of the present—Haraway provides a ray of light in an otherwise- gloomy world of Anthropocene scholarship."
"For anthropologists Haraway’s book will read as an invitation to think and write in terms that allow for symbiosis throughout.... Readers may not find clear road maps that guide them to struggle for more just flourishings or to understand the powerful and violent articulations of economies and ecologies in the Capitalocene. But they will perhaps rethink and expand the diverse relationalities that constitute the very preconditions of collective action. This is an invitation both to theorize and to make unexpected collaborations."
"Haraway’s kinships offer a brave opening in feminist theory.... Haraway has a long history of making
Paulla Ebron and Anna Tsing
brave moves—and winning feminism over."
Click here to listen to The Podcast for Social Research: Reading Donna Haraway in the Anthropocene