The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Department of English

Donna Haraway, “A Manifesto for Cyborgs”

  1. When was this essay written, and what seem to be some of its intellectual antecedents?
  2. Why does Haraway feel a need to postulate a theory of the cyborg? Is her choice of this construction effective rhetorically?
  3. How does this essay exhibit some of the preoccupations of other postmodernists we have read, such as Baudrillard and Deleuze and Guattari?
  4. Is there a contrast in tone, and if so, to what do you attibute this?
  5. What is meant by a cyborg, and what qualities are attributed to it? On what grounds is this attribution made? (2270-71, 2284)
  6. What does Haraway believe is passe about Marxism? On what grounds does she consider herself a socialist?
  7. What assumed intellectual boundaries have most recently been breached, and what is her opinion of these shifts in attitude? (2271-72)
  8. What would have been her opinion about the teaching of “intelligent design” in the schools? (2271)
  9. What forms of political activism does she point to as a model for others, and what may be implied in her choices? (2271)
  10. What does Haraway suggest is the appropriate substitute for “identity politics”? (2276)
  11. What forms of unity does she oppose? (2277) What modes of relationship should replace these false impositions of unity? (2277)
  12. What does Haraway see as some of the sins of recent feminisms? Of socialist and radical feminisms in particular? (2278-81)
  13. What is meant by the phrase, “the informatics of domination”? (2281ff.)
  14. What are some of the changes that she postulates in column form? (2281-82) For example, what does Haraway identify as the appropriate literary form for the new order? (2281)
  15. Of the changes she mentions, which seem significant (or accurate) to you?
  16. What are some alterations brought about by the “communications sciences” and biotechnology? (2284-85)
  17. What is the “homework economy”? (2286-87) As Haraway describes it, what are some of the trends it encompasses? (2287)
  18. What is her view of stages of the family? (2288) Of the effects of new technologies on work? On pleasure, gender, self-construction and the sense of identity? (2289)
  19. What does Haraway identify as “high-tech repressive apparatuses”? (2290) How does she suggest these may be undermined? (2290)
  20. What hope or possibilities does Haraway find for “women in the integrated circuit”? (2292)
  21. To what final myths does she appeal? How do these differ from earlier myths? (2293) Are these well-chosen?
  22. What elements of earlier myths does she feel these new myths should avoid? (2295)
  23. Why are her appeals for a "cyborg" illustrated by examples of women of color?
  24. What does she view as the appeal of feminist science fiction? What has changed in their presentation of "the human state"? (2297)
  25. In her conclusion, what does she enjoin should be our attitude toward machines, and our boundaries with machines? (2298)
  26. On what grounds does she advocate attention to regeneration rather than reproduction? (2299) Acceptance of the notion of what had formerly been seen as monstrous elements of nature?
  27. What does it mean to speak of a "the hope for a monstrous world without gender"? (2299)
  28. Is Haraway's work a lesbian manifesto as well; and if so, what do you think Rich or Butler might think of its contentions?
  29. What is meant by her conclusion, "Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess" (2299).
  30. In your opinion, which of Haraway’s assessments are equally applicable today?
  31. What is your opinion of this essay? What are its merits? Does it exhibit any contradictions or blind spots?

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