In prep for this weeks design session I went back to a few interviews I had found when looking for more information about Donna Harraway following her name cropping up in a couple of theory sessions.
Donna Haraway has provided new ways of thinking about the relation between modern technology and organisms, showing how they are not in opposition but interwoven with one another. Drawing on feminism, and radical thought and ‘labelled’ postmodern, over her career she has explored a range of fields, including embryology, primatology, genetics, technoscience, and animal studies, demonstrating that many of the ‘binary’ oppositions we have, like genetics and environment or human and animal actually interact and connect. It is her thoughts/belief that as humans we are not masters but companions to other species which I find most exciting.
I have no experience whatsoever of interviewing in a research context but like many people have been interviewed myself in a recruitment context, heard interviews on radio and TV and read the types of interview found in many popular weekly ‘celeb’ magazines.
The first interview was from 1996 (http://www.harikunzru.com/archive/donna-haraway-interview-transcript-1996) however this is very long and I was not sure how to approach it ( roll on the taught session on Tuesday) the next ‘Like a Leaf’ is actually in the form of a book…..so I had a look at a more recent one. This interview took place on 6 July 2009 at Donna Haraway’s house in Santa Cruz, CA. It was conducted by Jeffrey J. Williams, editor of Minnesota Review, and transcribed by Heather Steffen, managing editor of the Minnesota Review while completing her PhD at Carnegie Mellon University. Although it does not state as such I believe the interview was conducted because of Donna’s status within her field, current interest in human animal relationships and building upon earlier interviews around her seminal works.
The full interview transcription can be found at:
As this is long I will only comment on the first eleven questions as these form a natural break in the interview. I felt the primary answer to the question being asked of me (“What is the purpose of the interview? What are the research questions, hypothesis or query or phenomena that is grounding this interview (in other words, what is the interviewer trying to find out?)” was clearly stated within the first question which I found a reassuring setting of the context.
“Williams The first question I want to ask is about the “Cyborg
Manifesto,” because that’s how many people know your work, and
also because this year is its twenty-fifth anniversary. It was a different moment to be doing theory in the eighties. Could you tell me about the situation then and how you reflect back on it? “
The interview reads as being a relaxed chat between two people unknown to each other. The interviewer asked questions and sought clarification in a manner which appeared to indicate he was very familiar with her work or had carried out substantial research prior to the interview. There were also a number of more chatty questions such as those about how Donna ‘felt’. The extremely readable interview was conducted in an enquiring and clarification manner rather than a challenging one. Within the course of the interview the questioner is a able to ascertain not only quite personal information but also exactly where Donna is currently thinking in her paradigms.