Teddy Bear Patriarchy: A Conversation With Donna Haraway

Teddy Bear Patriarchy: A Conversation With Donna Haraway

Toppling Theodore Roosevelt

As anti-racist rebellions across the United States topple symbols of white supremacy, the statue of Theodore Roosevelt atop his horse remains at the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History. After countless protests and a long campaign, the museum has promised to remove it. And yet, as the museum reopens after a prolonged closure due to the COVID-19 crisis, it has yet to announce a date when the statue will be removed, a plan for where it will end up, and what might replace it.

Science for the People’s acquisitions editor, Erik Wallenberg, spoke with Donna Haraway, Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness program at UC Santa Cruz and author of the article “Teddy Bear Patriarchy: Taxidermy in the Garden of Eden, New York City, 1908-36.” Published in 1984, the essay helped fuel a discussion about racism, colonialism, and white supremacy in natural history museums and in science more generally.

Here, we revisit that article and Haraway considers the role of art and artists in relation to science and the museum, and discusses how and with what Roosevelt might be replaced.

Subscribe and check out the full interview in our “Bio-Politics” themed issue, out later this year.