University of California at Santa Cruz, USA
Donna Haraway’s book When Species Meet is one of the most innovative contributions in the fields of Animals Studies and Feminist Studies. In the introduction, the author analyses the interactions between humans and a vast array of creatures, especially those we define as domestic animals. From pets that have been designed at laboratories to animals trained as therapeutic companions, this essay questions the philosophical, cultural and biological encounters between humans and animals. This piece proposes the concept of companion species as a tool for creating narratives that recognize the beings of other species as significant presences together with which we co-evolve and co-habit a common space. This conceptualization aims to position itself beyond the ideas that plead for human exceptionalism and wonders about the possibilities of an interspecies ethic that allows for the flourishing of both humans and animals, referring to the concept of “becoming with” as a fundamental notion to understand the constitutive relationship of human-animal encounters. In analyzing this relationship, the author dwells in the constitutive difficulties of these encounters, their complexities, complications and the way they confront us with uneven positions of power.
Keywords: companion species, animal studies, feminism, post-humanism, “becoming-with”.