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Situated Knowledges / After the Interlude

“The only position from which objectivity could not possibly be practiced and honored is the standpoint of the master, the Man, the One God, whose Eye produces, appropriates, and orders all difference. … The god trick is self-identical, and we have mistaken that for creativity and knowledge, omniscience even.”

Knowledge isn’t universal. Knowledge isn’t omnipotent. Knowledge isn’t an impossible, disembodied perspective – a “god trick” as Haraway describes it in her essay Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective. Rather, knowledge is embodied, entangled and enmeshed within social, political and technoscientific networks. 

Haraway makes a practical and compassionate case for an understanding of knowledge as a collection of partial viewpoints and resonances, rather than a traditional “objective” viewpoint. “Only those occupying the positions of the dominators are self-identical, unmarked, disembodied, unmediated, transcendent, born again.”  

It’s probably at this point I should refer to myself as author and write my response more personally to a) hide my high-school level essay writing template and b) resonate more expressively with the text and put this forward as a more clear reverberation on my perspective. An aspect of the new materialists (I’m a big fan of Barad as well) I find most compelling is the respect for the “nuts and bolts” of scientific practice as much as the cultural-theory side of understanding the situatedness of scientific practice. Haraway is clear about the stakes – “These are claims on people’s lives.”