Date of Thesis

Spring 2022


This project examines how the conversations among feminism and primatology offers a unique critical lens into how “man” dominates other identities, whether that be woman or non-human primate, specifically within the rigid colonial structures of Western society. Donna Haraway’s landmark post-humanist work joins these conversations, especially with her earlier work Primate Visions and Simians, Cyborgs, and Women. While Haraway has changed the narrative surrounding feminist theory within the biological sciences – what has now become recognized as feminist science and technology studies –, this shift in perspective continues to emphasize Western ideological practices and their attention to primatology. My project first critically analyzes Haraway’s feminist retellings surrounding the historical contexts of Western primatology to provide an introductory overview into the theoretical analysis that has shaped the cultural identity of non-human primates. As I shift into my later chapters, I apply Haraway’s work transnationally to the critical terms of Reflection, Motherhood, and Personhood as they come to be represented within the narratives of Jane Goodall and Birutė Galdikas. With each critical term targeted as the central theme of each chapter, I critique and analyze how Goodall and Galdikas define themselves within non-Western contexts in order to unpack how intersectional feminist work shapes the way humans identify with other primates in non-Western cultures. By using Haraway as a lens to investigate non-Western texts, I ultimately show that culturally-inclusive language redefines the ways in which feminist ideologies and theoretical practices analyze non-human primates within the diverse academic study of primatology as itbegins to construct the necessary framework for bridging the gap between our understandings of both human and animal identity.


Feminism, Primatology, Personhood, Transnational, Reflection, Motherhood

Access Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science


Animal Behavior

Second Major


First Advisor

Jeremy Chow

Second Advisor

Reggie Gazes