Feminist Scholar Creates ‘Intersectional Quantum Physics’ To Fight Oppression

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By Lukas Mikelionis | 6:11 am, May 30, 2017
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A feminist scholar with no academic training in physics has developed a theory of “intersectional quantum physics” to fight oppression.

Whitney Stark, a scholar affiliated with the University of Arizona and Utrecht University in the Netherlands, published her latest theory in a journal published by Duke University Press.

Whitney Stark

In the 2017 edition of the Minnesota Review, the feminist academic argued that “combining intersectionality and quantum physics” will help to understand “marginalized people” and create “safer spaces” for them.

According to The College Fix, Stark claims that the traditional theory of quantum physics needs an update because it underpins our current social system and its attendant racism, sexism, and classism.

The paper blames Isaac Newton’s laws of motion as the primary force enabling this oppression of people.

Stark tries to qualify her argument, claiming “Newtonian physics” are based on absolutes and binary differences, which reinforce binary classifications like male/female or living/non-living.

Such binary classification, says Stark, is “hierarchical and exploitative” and a “part of the apparatus that enables oppression”.

To fight the need to group people based on “exploitative” categories, the academic suggests combining intersectional feminist theory with quantum physics theory.

Later in the paper, Stark also gave examples of how Newtonian physics oppressed minority groups.

She argued that science has historically hurt activism by small minority groups because of the tendency to categorize people and therefore overshadowing the efforts of small groups by dominant identity groups.

As a real-life example, Stark asks people to look at black feminist history:

For instance, in many “official” feminist histories of the United States, black/African American women’s organizing and writing are completely unaccounted for before the 1973 creation of the middle-class, professional National Black Feminist Organization.

That happened because the struggle of black feminists was absorbed by the broader category of feminism, which in return denied legitimacy to the group — all because of the binary hierarchies that favor white women and erases black women’s efforts.

To ensure marginalized groups aren’t subsumed by dominant identity groups, Stark, who’s a white woman herself, urges privileged people to engage in “deprioritizing” that would create “safer spaces”.

“For instance, I, being white, should not be in all spaces, positions of authority, or meetings,” she wrote, adding that her presence could “stall” movements towards progress.

The author concludes her academic article, wishing that the “apparatus that enables oppression” – meaning Newtonian physics – moves towards “less oppressive” dynamics.

“Hopefully, this alliance can enact ways of valuing [people] differently.”