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Main page » Non-Fiction » When Species Meet

When Species Meet


This eclectic, semi-academic volume is one part philosophical treatise, one part rambling memoir and one part affectionate look at a singular Australian sheepdog named Cayenne ("It's hard to be grumpy myself in the morning watching this kind of joyful doggish beginning!"). With intellectual precision and obvious enthusiasm, author and "posthumanities" professor Haraway (The Companion Species Manifesto) delves into topics as diverse as the rigors of breeding purebreds, the ethics of using animals in laboratories and the grand leaps of anthropomorphism people use to justify thousands of dollars in medical care for a pet. A professor in the History of Consciousness program at U.C. Santa Cruz, Haraway's prose is rigorous but readable, her ideas backed up with generally clear examples; she can, however, veer into abstract academic language ("People and animals in intra-action do not admit of preset taxonomic calculation") and gratuitous digression (as in a distracting chapter on her sportscaster father). These complaints aside, Haraway's serious, challenging approach to the human-animal relationship web should prove a novel, gratifying read for animal-owning science and philosophy buffs.

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Tags: Species, diverse, rigors, breeding, purebreds, topics, delves