Making Kin

From Beyond Social


staying with the trouble donna haraway

Making kin is a way to consider multiple species and interact in a multiple species world. (Wikipedia contributors, 2020b) In other words, making kin is a way to interact also with a nonhuman world. To understand better what making kin means, Donna Haraway wrote the Camille stories to fabulate and speculate on how we could live in the world of tomorrow, the new earth. It is a different way forward, a way in which we would be much closer to nature and be with nature. Here is a video about it: Making kin beyond babies - after Donna Haraway

In short, what happens in the Camille stories (chapter 8 of Donna Haraway’s book of staying with the trouble) is: The Camille stories follow five generations of a symbiogenetic join of a human child and monarch butterflies along the lines and nodes of these insects’ migrations between Mexico and the United States and Canada. These lines trace socialities and materialities crucial to living and dying with critters on the edge of disappearance so that they might go on. Committed to nurturing capacities to respond and cultivating ways to render each other capable, the Communities of Compost appeared in the early twenty-first century on ruined lands all over the world. These communities committed to reducing human numbers over a few hundred years while practicing multispecies and multiregional environmental justice of myriad kinds. Every new child had at least three human parents; and the pregnant parent exercised reproductive freedom in the choice of an animal symbiont for the child, a choice that ramified across the generations of all the species. The relations of symbiogenetic people and unjoined humans brought many surprises, some of them deadly, but perhaps the deepest surprises emerged from the relations of the living and the dead, in symanimagenic complexity, across the holobiomes of earth. (Haraway, 2016) A recent example of the display of making kin can be found inside the documentary of “my teacher the octopus.” Through this documentary, it becomes clear that making kin is more than just interacting with multiple species. Kin is abundant, made not through blood but through relations of care. In the documentary, this concept is visible because you see the emotional relationship forming between the filmmaker and the octopus. The documentary is however made from the perspective of a human so that is something to keep in mind. We will never know what the nonhuman is thinking exactly we can only speculate and fabulate.

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