Making Kin with our Non-Human Cousins: A Harawayan Manifesto for Orangutan Conservation

Kate Williams

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

Abstract / Description of output

The feminist scholar Donna Haraway, with her provocative and challenging concepts, calls on us to be more self-reflexive of our actions towards both the planet and the other species that inhabit it. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore how her work erodes disciplinary boundaries to bring opposing parties together and then considers how this can be used to advance orangutan conservation. The dissertation will examine how her work has been applied in the literature, its potential value in critiquing approaches to orangutan conservation strategies and how it can help us to understand our relationships to forest ecosystems, our kin and cousins and, in many respects our extended selves. Given its material semiotic nature, an interpretivist approach was used to try and make sense of how, with Haraway’s help, we can open our way of thinking to be more inclusive of both each other and of animals. In doing so, it is hoped that a similar approach can be used to help other endangered species and inspire conversations in conservation. A semi-systematic review of the literature was undertaken using Web of Science, Google Scholar and the University of Edinburgh Online Library. The findings suggest that it is crucial to explore who we are and our interdependencies with other species and that the involvement of social science disciplines with stakeholders when organising conservation efforts is crucially important given the varied socio-economics of the lands that humans and orangutans share. This is a look into a Wonderland where the human-animal relationship is once again valued with mutual respect for each other’s place in the world and foregoes human exceptionalism. This is not a depiction of where we are now, but of where we want to be and how we can create a future of ‘Making Kin’ with the orangutan.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Edinburgh
  • Cousquer, Glen, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Manifesto
  • Plantationocene
  • Orangutan Conservation
  • Making Kin
  • Becoming With


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