Reading Haraway’s Situated Knowledges

The following are notes for a lecture. “Situated Knowledges” is one of my favorite pieces by Haraway, probably only second to “The Biopolitics of Postmodern Bodies.”

“Situated Knowledges” is primarily concerned with the concept of objectivity, at it is used in discourses of scientific knowledge production. For a long time—since at least Bacon and Descartes—scientific knowledge has been thought of as superior to first-person experiential knowledge due to its objectivity. The question is, how does the scientist gain access to such objectivity? Historically, the answer has been: by subtracting subjectivity from the equation. So the effort is made to distinguish between those aspects of one’s experience that are irreducibly subjective from those that are (hopefully) objective; then, you strip away those subjective aspects, and what you’re left with is supposed to be objective knowledge. Continue reading “Reading Haraway’s Situated Knowledges”

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On the Concept of Nature Today

Looking back at the class on the philosophy of the environment I’ve just concluded, it seems to me — in good Hegelian fashion — that only now am I in a place to talk about the course’s methodology. To design a syllabus is a matter of selection, and every selection is politically as well as conceptually informed. Continue reading “On the Concept of Nature Today”

Accumulation and Ecological Surplus

Capitalism, Jason Moore argues, is a system of organizing nature in which the aim is the accumulation of surplus-value and the means are twofold: the exploitation of labor-power and the appropriation of unpaid work and energy from human and nonhuman natures. Following Marx, he contends that the capitalist manner of organizing commodity production enables the extraction of surplus-value, but that those same dynamics lead to a decline in the rate of profit; this leads to crises which, Moore adds, can only be resolved by the production and appropriation of new cheap natures that offset the rising costs of production. Continue reading “Accumulation and Ecological Surplus”