Sunday, May 26, 2013

Queering physics - musing part I

It has been a busy past two months of constant writing, seminar presentation, travelling and finally, starting on a new summer job as a TA for a general physics course.

A recent paper I submitted earlier this month on the topic of feminism, 'hard' science, feminist science fiction, and queerness, got me thinking about the notion of queerness in physics, and whether it is possible to think about queer physics. So far, none of the feminist epistemology of science essays I had read have quite pointed me towards that direction, so I need to think about this further. Nevertheless, my early postulate is that queer physics speaks about knowledge-making in physics that takes the form of subverting the hegemony of a dominant and mainstream discourse. It also interrogates the point of physics knowledge that have been marginalized or discarded, and query on what constitute the parameters of legitimacy governing their acceptance.

It is possible that one can consider queer physics to only be able to recognized once one brings to fore the speculative ontology of physics knowledge - the reason being that the instability and 'hidden variables' within that knowledge can then be foregrounded. Does queer physics means a more inclusive interpretation? What delimitations at the foundational level would want then attempt? How does one discuss queerness in terms of mathematical discourse and the physical realism of quantum theory (or even semi-classical quantum theory)? I know that Karen Barad, theoretical physicist/feminist cultural theorist had somewhat attempted that in her piece "Nature's Queer Performativity" (which I have started reading but not yet complete) and even in her book "Meeting the Universe Halfway" though in the latter, she was trying to connect what goes on in the materiality of Bohrian quantum theory to discourse of queer performativity in cultural theory. I am interested, instead, to theorize the queerness of physics more overtly.

Any suggestions and references in this regard is welcomed (even criticism is welcomed!)

1 comment:

  1. There's always Haldane's famous quote about the queerness of the universe...