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Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival

Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthly Survival

Feminist thinker and historian of science Donna Haraway is best known as the author of two revolutionary works: the essay "A Cyborg Manifesto" and the book Primate Visions. Both set out to upend well-established "common sense" categories: breaking down the boundaries among humans, animals, and machines while challenging gender essentialism; and questioning the underlying assumptions of humanity’s fascination with primates through a post-colonial lens.

DONNA HARAWAY: STORY TELLING FOR EARTHLY SURVIVAL features Haraway in a playful and engaging exploration of her life, influences, and ideas. Haraway is a passionate and discursive storyteller, and the film is structured around a series of discussions held in the California home she helped build by hand, on subjects including the capitalism and the anthropocene (a term she uses but finds troubling), science fiction writing as philosophical text, kinship relations, the roles of storytelling and Catholicism in her upbringing, humans and dogs, the suppression of women’s writing, the surprisingly fascinating history of orthodontic aesthetics, and the need for new post-colonial and post-patriarchal narratives. It is a remarkably impressive range, from a thinker with a nimble and curious mind.

Haraway and filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova (who we hear but don't see) are clearly at ease with each other, giving the conversations—which are punctuated by images of artwork and quirky animation—a casual, intimate feel. Terranova makes playful use of green screens to illustrate Haraway's words, or to comment on them. As Haraway discusses storytelling, we see an image of her in the background, writing. When the conversation turns to her own unorthodox personal relationships and the oppressive power of heteronormativity, the redwoods out her window are replaced by a crisp suburban street. Underwater invertebrates, one of Haraway’s fascinations, float by in the background of a room.

DONNA HARAWAY: STORY TELLING FOR EARTHLY SURVIVAL is a clever and insightful glimpse into the thought of a major contemporary figure.

"An ode to this thinker’s expansive mind and life. Besides a heady, speculative journey through theory, politics, sci-fi, and so much else, you get a sense of the deep joy that Haraway takes in all life." —Vice Magazine

"A heroine to a generation of women who are starting to call themselves cyberfeminists." —Wired

"An intimate and personal account; makes the viewer feel like they are entering into a personal conversation with Haraway." —American Anthropologist

Pushing cinéma vérité into the realm of the surreal, Terranova brings one of the most evocative social theorists to life and demonstrates the supple, transformative nature of storytelling itself." —Cultural Anthropology

"A rare, candid, intellectual portrait of a highly original thinker; Haraway is a gifted storyteller who paints a rebellious and hopeful universe teeming with critters and trans species in an era of disasters." —Concreta Journal

"[After the launch of Cyborg, the 2018 Gucci collection,] creative director Alessandro Michele's post-show press conference feels like an advanced seminar in philosophy. His primary source, he said, was Donna Haraway's 1984 'A Cyborg Manifesto,' an essay questioning the boundaries between humans, animals and machines." —The Guardian

"Feminist theorist and philosopher Donna Haraway has substantially impacted thought on science, cyberculture, the environment, animals, and social relations." —Margret Grebowicz, author of 'Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway'

"With her inimitable brilliance, compassion and wit, Donna Harawayand a few of her selected travelling companionstake us through an exhilarating journey that combines sharp theoretical insights with moving personal moments. An intellectual giant comes to life as never before. Enjoy the ride!Rosi Braidotti, Philosopher and Distinguished Professor, Utrecht University

"Donna Haraway is brilliant, passionate, original—and a leading intellectual force of our times.  This portrait offers an intimate glimpse into the style and imagination of this charismatic thinker." —Anna Tsing, Professor of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz




Main credits

Terranova, Fabrizio (film director)
Meiresonne, Ellen (film producer)
Haraway, Donna Jeanne (interviewee)
Hogness, Rusten (on-screen participant)
Pepper, Cayenna (on-screen participant)

Other credits

Cinematography, Tristan Galand; film editing, Bruno Tracq; original music score, Lawrence Le Doux; animators, Jaye Miller, Clara Sobrino.

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

Science Fiction
Social Studies
Women's Studies


; "A Cyborg Manifesto"; Cyborgs; "Donna Haraway"; Docuseek2; Ecofeminism; Feminism; "History of Consciousness"; Kin; "Manifestly Haraway"; Oddkin; Philosophy; Politics; Primatology; Science; "Science Fiction"; Technology; Technoscience; Women's Studies; biography; ovid_ca; ,doc,art,bio,env

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