so i had a really hard time trying to get through the cyborg manifesto. i read this as if i would read theory, and as such, i kept in mind a very helpful tip from one of my professors: read it as if you knew what was going on. whenever we get to a rather difficult theorist, she tells us to just keep reading, and pretend that we follow. more often than not, she says, we will have picked up on more than we think.
this advice didn’t really help this time.
so, i went search on my own for some help. first, i checked out donna harraway on wikipedia and skimmed through some of her biography and her previous writings. then, i stumbled on some reading notes here: http://www.terrisenft.net/students/readings/manifesto.html. i’d highly recommend skimming through these notes. they helped me understand the manifesto a little better. after that, i called my feminist friend, sarah, who had read another article by harraway called you are cyborg, and we talked about it for a while. the most clarifying point of our conversation was when i finally asked her what a cyborg is. i know how harraway defines it in her manifesto, but i wanted to know how she thought of drawing a distinction between robots and cyborgs. sarah was telling me that a cyborg is kind of like the bridge between a robot and a human: you can speak about a birth and a death with a cyborg, but not in the same way when you’re talking about a robot. she was talking about how technology has become so insinuated and entangled with humans that, in a way, we’re not humans anymore. people who have metal rods in their backs for a spine or heart machines aren’t really human, and in a larger sense, neither are people who wear glasses, and in an even larger sense, neither are people who use alarm clocks. she pointed me to these articles: http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.02/ffharaway_pr.html and http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.02/ffharaway.html?pg=2&topic=&topic_set=