Naturecultures and Feminist Materialism

Authored by: Helen Merrick

Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment

Print publication date:  June  2017
Online publication date:  July  2017

Print ISBN: 9780415707749
eBook ISBN: 9781315886572
Adobe ISBN:


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Some of the most original and provocative feminist scholarship on environment and nature is found in Donna Haraway’s extensive body of feminist science studies and cultural theory. While she is not primarily identified as an environmental or ecofeminist theorist, the objects of Haraway’s inquiries are integral to any contemporary consideration of gender and environment. Spanning a wide array of subjects and disciplines, central to all her writing is the question of how (and why, and in whose interests) we humans encounter nature: materially, discursively, figuratively, and relationally. As Haraway herself has often noted, her work could be considered an ongoing investigation of ‘the invention and reinvention of nature – perhaps the most central arena of hope, oppression, and contestation for inhabitants of the planet earth in our times’ (Haraway 1991d:1). Haraway’s work, like that of French philosopher of science Bruno Latour, presents ‘nondualist’ theories of nature that ‘take nature to be neither reducible to objective reality nor reducible to human subjectivity’ (Davison 2005). A nondualist approach at its core resists the whole series of traditional binarisms such as nature/culture and human/nonhuman that inform the reductionist systems ultimately threatening the natural environment.

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