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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

Virginia Tech Blacksburg Virginia, US
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This paper synthesizes recent criticism of Western ideas of modernity and the Anthropocene to articulate criteria for a feminist narrative that can decenter the human as the key figure of concern in the present and advocate for a more collaborative understanding of existence. I begin with a close reading of Donna Haraway’s argument for multispecies collaboration and storytelling as the only viable response to the crisis of the Anthropocene in her recent book Staying with the Trouble, and then engage with additional critiques of modernity to broaden Haraway’s intellectual argument. While Haraway offers a compelling argument for response to our current era of precarity, I integrate her text with others to articulate nine specific criteria that can craft alternative narratives. Haraway and other Anthropocene critics focuses on interdisciplinary scholarship and local grassroots activism as key strategies for resistance, resilience, and change. Without disregarding those significant arguments, I extend the discussion to narrative frameworks, signaling the potential for more wide-spread awareness of a new narrative that can aid in response to the current environmental crisis. These criteria speak to Haraway’s oft-repeated refrain that “it matters what stories we tell stories with,” and stories of becoming-with through multispecies awareness give us the chance of a possible future wherein some humans and critters survive to tell more stories. This kind of storytelling features voices traditionally lost to narratives of modernity and progress (including the Earth itself) and seeks alternatives to Enlightenment-centered individualism as a significant form of response and reaction to the Anthropocene.
How to Cite: McKagen, E.L., 2018. The Stories We Tell: Toward a Feminist Narrative in the Anthropocene. Spectra, 6(2), p.None.
Published on 19 Sep 2018.
Peer Reviewed


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