This essay is not difficult, but is not short. Please devote time and take notes. This is probably the most relevant writing in regards to the challenges of this class that we will read all semester. Please write a 2 paragraph response in the comments section.
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The AmericanScience team is back from winter break! Over the course of a few weeks this fall, the AmericanScience team took some time with the essay, and came together to discuss our experiences with it, where it fits into current scholarship, and whether it really is impenetrable.
We invite you to join the conversation in the comments section or on Twitter. What about you all? In undergrad I worked in special collections at the now defunct Lawrence Jacobsen Primate Library, part of the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, the home of a number of famous primatologists like Harry Harlow—so most of my colleagues threw out references to the book on a regular basis.
I ended up using it extensively in my undergrad work; partly for class papers, which I mostly focused on histories of primatology for practical reasons more than anything else , and partly for a collection of oral history interviews that I conducted for the UW Archives Oral History Project.
This is all to say that more than a few people told me I needed to read Primate Visions before I actually did, and it took a few re-reads to really be able to use it critically and usefully.
It has, though, been one of the foundational texts in developing my HOS interests, especially when it comes to exploring museums and nature. Jenna: This is actually my first time reading this particular piece. I read Haraway at various points in my academic career A Cyborg Manifesto as an undergraduate, selections of Primate Visions early in grad school , but it was great to go back and grapple with her work now that I feel slightly less intimidated by her writing.
Not advised. Evan: I take this long passage as something like a statement of the conclusions and premises of this piece:. And dioramas are meaning-machines. Machines are time slices into the social organisms that made them. Machines are maps of power, arrested moments of social relations that in turn threaten to govern the living. The owners of the great machines of monopoly capital—the so-called means of production—of race, gender, and class.
Leah: How do we think that the two sections of the essay connect to each other? Does it work stylistically? Evan: I found the last few sentences illuminating or, more accurately, I found them helpfully inscrutable :. And the strongest evidence presented in this essay for the correctness of their judgment has been a literal reading of the realist, organicist artefacts and practices of the American Museum of Natural History. Their practice and mine have been literal, dead literal.
David: I actually think that there are three sections. I found the first really enjoyable, the second potentially brilliant, but the third a letdown. How can we situate these texts in the context of s American academia? Within the emerging gender studies and science studies programs? But I was still seriously underwhelmed by the last ten pages or so of the article. It is constructed in the most literal sense. Moreover, the reason Akeley and his fellow safari tycoons liked shooting apes and elephants is precisely that they seemed so close to us.
Or even plants? Jenna: What I find really intellectually exciting is the middle section of the essay, in which Haraway plays with the idea of biography as a narrative form. At a moment when biography is widely dismissed as old-fashioned or even whiggish, I think there is an argument to be extracted here about its methodological potential. Particularly striking were her observations about the gender politics of authorship—who gets credit, who deserves self-actualization—especially given the fact that all three biographies of Akeley were written by women.
I wanted Haraway to unpack the gender implications of this feminine authorship even more, especially the role of Delia. I felt a bit uneasy with the way in which Haraway pitted Delia and Mary Jobe against each other—the bitter divorcee against the loving wife. How can we account for their roles in the organization of the safaris as well as the narratives that commemorate them? Are both women complicit in the Teddy Bear Patriarchy? This is pretty intense stuff, and I could imagine it falling flat or worse?
Towards the beginning of her essay, she writes:. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email.
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Teddy Bear Patriarchy
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Teddy Bear Patriarchy: Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden, New York City, 1908-1936
These works, completed in the early 20 th century ares till a significant part of the museums collection today. However, is Akeley a scientist? If anything, Akeley fits the stereotype of the gentleman explorer. The objects of the hunt are prime specimens of large charismatic megafauna. He is seeking trophies like the rest.
Contradiction and the Scientist-Explorer hybrid
The AmericanScience team is back from winter break! Over the course of a few weeks this fall, the AmericanScience team took some time with the essay, and came together to discuss our experiences with it, where it fits into current scholarship, and whether it really is impenetrable. We invite you to join the conversation in the comments section or on Twitter. What about you all?
New Feature: AmericanScience Re-reads the Classics; or, Teddy Bear Patriarchy in 2016