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Reading: The Stories We Tell: Toward a Feminist Narrative in the Anthropocene


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The Stories We Tell: Toward a Feminist Narrative in the Anthropocene


E. Leigh McKagen

ASPECT, Virginia Tech, US
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In Staying with the Trouble, ecofeminist Donna Haraway argues for multispecies collaboration and storytelling as a necessary response to the crisis of the Anthropocene.Ultimately Haraway’s focus is on the possibility of response through multispecies collaboration.This is a largely presentist project, and although at times she evokes an awareness of the future and acknowledges the need to learn from (respond to) the past, her text rarely takes into account the conditions that created the Anthropocene as part of the necessary response required to overcome the crisis.In this paper, I highlight four specific narrative criteria that connect other noted critiques of modernity to Haraway’s major arguments to achieve two major aims.First, I offer a close reading of Haraway’s text to synthesize her arguments for a new cultural narrative in clearly defined criteria.Second, I extend Haraway’s argument to account for remaining legacies of imperialism and globalization that—while mentioned in the text from time to time—generally go unexplored in the practical application of her proposed narrative.Through this reading of Haraway’s newest manifesto, I establish key components for a narrative that can meet Haraway’s goal of multispecies collaboration while also more adequately taking the past into account as a vital part of moving forward.Ultimately, this paper will critically engage with recent criticism of Western ideas of modernity, progress, and the Anthropocene to articulate criteria for a feminist narrative that can decenter the individual (the human) as figure of key concern and advocate for a more collaborative understanding of life (existence) without neglecting the conditions that created the current system.
How to Cite: McKagen, E.L., 2018. The Stories We Tell: Toward a Feminist Narrative in the Anthropocene. Spectra, 6(2), pp.74–88. DOI:
Published on 28 Aug 2018.


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