Hoax or not a hoax? New paper on how “Intersectional quantum feminisms” fight the oppression of Newtonian physics

Okay, here’s a paper that appeared recently in The Minnesota Review, published out of Duke University. Is it a hoax or not a hoax? I’ll show the title (click on screenshot to go to the paper; the full reference and free link os at bottom), and then give some excerpts. 

First, I read this paper as best I could, but my eyes glazed over at the absolutely horrible postmodern writing, and it was hard to make out the paper’s thesis. Here’s part of the introduction:

I invest in Donna Haraway’s claim that “what counts as an object is precisely what world history turns out to be about” (quoted in Barad 2007, 42); that is, politics are about the hierarchies of what connections, or closenesses, are prioritized as bodily. All bodies are political gatherings, as what is understood as closely related, kin, the measured, congealing intersections of phenomena (social identity, histories, water, particles) considered legible/intelligible/singularized is always a political configuration, with systems and apparatuses (e.g., colonial sciences or clarity fetishism) set up to recognize these prioritized configurations/separations (a “cut together/apart” in Barad’s words [2010, 240]) naturalizing insidious assumptions and hierarchies of value. And so “connect[ing] what’s been dangerously disconnected” (Rich 1987, 214) is directly political. Re/cognizing the connective/constellatory bodies typically not understood as connected (e.g., across disciplines) allows for embellishing alliances not following rules of typically understood closeness or kinship (space, time, social category, eugenic lineage) while also not discounting differing mattering realities (steeped categorizations). And, possibly, deprioritizing particularly naturalized, fetishizing borders has potentials for destabilizing structures that enable hierarchical othering (which justifies sociopolitical oppression and material-discursive violence).

Her thesis seems to be that there is a kind of “quantum feminism” that overcomes the political hegemony of Newtionian physics, which itself is somehow ideologically unpalatable because it emphasizes the “binary” and thus creates “othering”, sexism, and similar us/them distinctions:

One of the most prominent and guiding sciences of that time was classical Newtonian physics, which identifies separated beings and absolute differences between particles and waves, space and time. This structural thinking of individualized separatism with binary and absolute differences as the basis for how the universe works seeped into/poured over/ is embedded in many structures of classification, which understand similarity and difference in the world, imposed in many hierarchical and exploitative organizational structures, whether through gender, life/nonlife, national borders, and so on.

Throughout the paper she uses quantum metaphors as well as the word “linearity”, applying them improperly to her view on gender politics. But somehow quantum mechanics is the key to unlocking oppression:

I refer to these allying strategies as a constellatory body called “quantum feminisms.” Hopefully, this locating-as-body can enflame some political closenesses that help shift apparatuses, allowing for energy, time, love, concentration to disperse and gather differently. That is, serve as a decent coalition, a relevant apparatus enabling conditions possible for thinking/mattering innovative transformative antioppression practices and helpful semantic/teleological tools and for checking the political salience of structures in work toward accountable, anti-oppressive transformation. I hope to unpack and highlight connectivities in which these quantum feminist posthuman tools can be explicitly relevant to anti-oppression struggles.

Look at this horrible writing! How can anybody stand to read it?

This is where the threat within feminist new materialisms gathers, as it works specifically to obstruct the abstract/material binary through (re)cognizing that which is considered metaphysical as also having mat(t)er(ial), agential intra-action. In operating away from ideas of abstraction and into materialization, teleological/metaphysical bodies/structures/phenomena/forces are acknowledged/intelligible as matter(ing), as spatializing materiality, systems, gatherings, technologies, prostheses, conglomerates becoming and holding space in/with/ through/among bodies a re-cognition I signify as metaphysicality.

I could go on and on. A few more bits should give you the bitter flavor of this piece, though perhaps not the meaning. Here she throws in “epigenetics,” a biological term:

It is not that a quantum understanding is opposed to identity politics but that it exactly operates with these differences, these concentrations. That is, metaphysical bodies are and can be recognized as differing constellations of closeness, alliance, and energy formation (agential cuts), and with this they are in mattering, diffractive, intraactive relations with the biopolitics of understood-as human bodies, racializations, affectivities. Identity works on a quantum level, it is not immaterial; neither are the spatializing bodies of history, stigma, economics, microphilia, and epigenetics.

And one more with a science-y flavor. I WANT YOU TO READ THESE!

In quantum understanding, these [strategies “need to end all forms of violence”] take familiar forms. These intersubjective, less hierarchical organizing structures are “a performance of spacetime (re)configurings . . . more akin to how electrons experience the world than any journey narrated through rhetorical forms that presume actors move along trajectories across a stage of spacetime” (Barad 2010, 240). They are intra-connective assemblages of gathering and degathering, diffracting, quantum (leaping) political constellations; quantum alliances. And the power in that is exactly what would threaten Western, Cartesian scientific systems of legitimacy and value (binary thinking, taxonomy, what have you). These intentional quantum-style political strategies that emerge, gather, and disperse, in which energy/people are in multiple movements/moments at once, exchange, have wavelike properties, simultaneously embed themselves as illegible to traditionalized subject-based understandings. And thus they are not legible in these understandings’ systems of authentification.

What is this annoying playing with words, with hyphening and neologizing? Is this the postmodernist “jouer” (playing) with words? Whatever it is, it’s damn annoying, and makes Stark’s paper very difficult to read. The science stuff, of course, is bullpucky, just a misuse of physics terms that Alan Sokal has decried so loudly.

I suspect her entire thesis could have been put into a single paragraph, but then it wouldn’t have been a whole paper. The point is so buried in garbage that I’m not sure there is a point. And that leads me to ask you:

IS THIS A HOAX PAPER OR NOT?

Answer below the fold (click on “read more”)

_______

Stark, W. 2017. Assembled bodies: reconfiguring quantum identities“. The Minnesota Review 2017 (88): 69-82. doi: 10.1215/00265667-3787402

This paper appears to be real. Whitney Stark, is at the Institute for LGB Studies at the University of Arizona (link on screenshot):

And has a link at University of Utrecht, as well as a link on academia.edu, where you can find some of her other writings. She photographed a Voices of Women media event, and I’m pretty sure this is her Twitter feed, which mentions Utrecht and has the following photo, suggesting she’s a real person:


It’s curious that after ten pages of absolutely dreadful, mind-extinguishing prose, Stark says this in a footnote (my emphasis):

2. Theory is often conceived as inaccessible, thus for small, privileged audiences. I agree vehemently with critiques of inaccessibility, banal depoliticization, and academic elitism. I also believe this inaccessibility critique can get employed in detrimental ways, denying tools created for anti-oppression struggles through elitist demarcation of “the masses,” nonacademics, people of differing abilities or perceived statuses as not able to access, understand, or use tools/language/strategies made to dismantle this kind of hierarchical assignment. I have seen how critical language, tools, and critiques are avoided in youth work (genealogically understood in “the mass”) by academically trained employees. Frantz Fanon ([1961] 1965) writes: “The masses are quick to seize every shade of meaning and to learn all the tricks of the trade. . . . It has been decided to consider the masses as uninitiated . . . and leave them out of things . . . the much greater business of plunder” (25).

And yet Stark has done her best to make her thesis inaccessible except to privileged gender-studies and postmodernist scholars. It is about as elitist as you can get.

There is no amount of mockery that is too much for a paper like this. Now, you can criticize the journal as a bad one—I know nothing about it—but somebody thought this was worth publishing, and Stark thought is was worth writing. How many of these must I present and “deconstruct” before people are convinced that the field of “culture and gender studies” is afflicted with a metastasizing cancer of the intellect?

Of course, maybe it is a hoax, but that would be just as damning.

109 Comments

  1. Veroxitatis
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    True it is that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.

    • Kevin
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      We have now entered the age when ever other child is either gluten free, autistic, allergic to nuts, or is afflicted by Dunning–Kruger.

      And just as clueless parents watch a five minute YouTube on quantum mechanics and pretend to be masters of the visible universe.

      • jeffery
        Posted June 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

        I have invented a new term: “polymoron”- a person who has no real knowledge of ANYTHING…

  2. CB
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    But is she(if s(he)is who she says she is)having any fun?

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      She may/not be having any fun, but it is fun(ny) to read these papers in which writers(right-ers?) try to one-up each other with wordplay.

      • Robert Bray
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:20 am | Permalink

        wry-tears

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      This is another detail/deconstruction about this kind of writing. It seems to rely on generous doses of /es (or parentheses) to clarify(conceal) its content.

  3. Trevor H
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    She wins the Deepakity award for most inappropriate use of ‘Quantum’

  4. BobTerrace
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know if it is a hoax or not, but it is a word salad with the flavor of the dirt where the contents grew. Either way, it is not clever.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      I don’t know if it’s a hoax either, but the author should say that it is even if that wasn’t her original intention. It may be the only way to regain credibility.

      When I was at uni in the early 80s, there were genuine things being researched in Gender Studies. It was a valid field. That seems to no longer be the case. There are still genuine things that could be, and probably are, being researched. Papers like this poison the well.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      I don’t know if it is a hoax or not

      Perhaps there are papers that are hoaxes, papers that aren’t hoaxes, and Schrödinger papers? Is that ‘quantum’ enough?

  5. Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that none of the forthcoming examples in this series are hoaxes.

    And I will state with six-sigma confidence that the physics in this paper hasn’t the slightest bearing whatsoever on reality. Dr. Stark here demonstrates a knowledge of physics significantly more unsophisticated than I had at my command as a freshman music major at the start of my undergraduate career.

    Hell, at this point I’d be surprised if she could even name the double-slit experiment — let alone perform the optical version of it. Which is really sad, since all you need is a piece of cardboard and a razor blade and a bright point-like and / or suitably focused light source, and it’s such a powerfully elegant demonstration.

    Need I mention that she’d certainly, at this point, fail to mention the connection with diffraction gratings, such as on the sniny side of a CD or DVD?

    Cheers,

    b&

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      As a way of expounding on the elementary nature of what is being discussed:

      We did a version of Young’s original experiment in the grade *10* physics course I did. It was the most challenging lab we did in some ways, but …

  6. Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I’m hoping for hoax.

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    “Apparatuses”

    Let’s do some language forensics:
    Latin : apparare
    Mid-17th C : apparatus
    not Greek.
    not directly Latin.
    Therefore : “apparatuses” is correct plural.

    Conclusion : paper is serious. Not a hoax.

    • Paul Schoeckel
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Not a hoax, yes. Serious, no.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        … INTENDED to be serious…. of course… … ummmm … not a hoax…

  8. Rita
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    Based on the title, I vote “Hoax”, since my eyes glazed over reading the title, I wasn’t able to read further.

  9. Barney
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    That is truly appalling writing. With other examples of ridiculous papers so far, I’ve at least been able to understand what they were claiming, even if the ideas were nonsense. But this reads like Sarah Palin crossed with ‘Professor’ Stanley Unwin.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    La mort de la parodie.

    As to postmodern scholarship, anyway.

  11. Craw
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    “How many of these must I present ”
    No number will suffice.

    I like the “mat(t)er(ial)”. For those unfamiliar with the secret cant of bullshit, this is noting (as a significant point) that the Latin word for mother immanent within all things material and that matter. This counts as insight and a strong point in these fields.

  12. Hempenstein
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Why would something called the Minnesota Review be published out of Duke? Except that it seems to be in Vol 88, I might be tempted to suspect that the journal’s some inside joke down in Durham.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      I was wondering that, too, so I looked. It was originally published in Minnesota.

  13. Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I help fix articles written in English by a scientist whose English certainly needs help. That work is much easier than trying to make sense of the introduction quoted above.

    Do people actually take these things seriously?????

  14. Dave B
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I’m not by any means an academic or even very well educated, but I’m astounded that people spend their parents hard-earned money to learn how to write this drivel.

    Equally astounded that there is someone who actually teaches people *how* to write this drivel.

    More astounded that there is someone who peer-reviews this and doesn’t say “this is drivel”.

    At least people from this program may be able to find rewarding work in the food or hotel services industry… That or in a institute of higher learning teaching other people how to drivel.

    • Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Not to nitpick, but this isn’t drivel.

      It’s covfefe.

      Cheers,

      b&

      >

      • Kevin
        Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

        It’s covfefe with a touch Deepakity written barefoot and braless with the hippie-hat on sideways.

      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Ben – it’s actually low German – “Kjenn jie noch covfefe? Oba, faulsch Niess!” is actually what he tweeted in perfect plattdeutsch. Who knew he was fluent?

    • BJ
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      They could have used that money to actually go into physics or some other worthwhile science, but they chose this instead — this *and* complaining that there aren’t enough women doing physics.

      • Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        All public money currently wasted on Pomo “studies” should be redirected to better applications, one of which may be physics.

        However, individuals currently paid for doing such “studies” would be a liability for physics and all other fields I can think of. And because I am also against keeping healthy adults on welfare indefinitely, I have no suggestion what to do with them :-).

        Happily, nobody is planning to deprive the “studies” folks of their salaries. Rather, the trend is to empower them.

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      As my teacher Mario Bunge put it, one thing that happens when you sign up for pomo stuff, you *unlearn* how to write.

  15. barn owl
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    I got hung up on the phrase “colonial science” in the introduction, and had to google it. I came across this book review: http://www.booksandideas.net/What-is-Colonial-Science.html

    It’s an area of interest for some historians of science, and apparently there are international meetings, book chapters, etc. devoted to discussions of colonial science. Of course what’s not discussed are the instruments of privilege and inequities of financial power distribution that allow academics from the “metropole” to fly all over the globe to attend these elite meetings.

    Meanwhile postcolonial critics have argued more broadly that the same violent processes that produced colonial power also produced scientific knowledge.

    o.0

    • barn owl
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      The Barad 2007 reference is real as well:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Barad

      Another scholar who is undoubtedly well-rewarded monetarily for their efforts. Has been funded by the NSF as well, according to the UCSC faculty page.

    • BJ
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Just watch this video of a feminist saying we need to “decolonize” science by giving just as much weight to the Shaman who says he can strike any man with lightning by saying a few words or doing a dance (she doesn’t say, “who says,” she just says he can), as to real research done by real people.

      It’s like an even worse version of Lysenkoism. At one time a century or two ago, colonial science might have been a serious subject. It isn’t now, but Pomos and regressives are desperately trying to make it one.

    • eric
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

      I got hung up on the phrase “colonial science” in the introduction

      What’s funny is that they see QM as the cure for colonial science. The ignorance makes me feel almost sorry for poor Bismark’s reputation.

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      People claim that because some (most, likely) “great scientists” were racists that therefore (????) science is racist. So “postcolonial science studies” in the ridiculous sense makes use of “local knowledges” (sic) instead. (In my view at best the view is patronizing by assuming guru status, at worst a way to promote racist pseudoscience – see Meera Nanada’s critique of this nonsense in India.)

  16. Mike McCants
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Copied from:

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2017/05/academic-absurdity-of-the-week-alan-sokal-call-your-office-2.php

    “This appears to be for real, and not a hoax. Whitney Stark is a professor of women’s and gender studies at the University of Arizona. I remain open to the possibility that Prof. Stark is a deep cover agent working to undermine the whole scam from within, but as I say, how can you tell? Otherwise let us suggest that Prof. Stark has discovered Schrodinger’s feminist: alive and brain dead at the same time.”

    If you look at the Table of Contents for this month’s issue, there is a title: “Critical Special Focus: New Materialist Genealogies” followed by SEVEN papers. Why single out this one???

    • Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:26 am | Permalink

      I remain open to the possibility that Prof. Stark is a deep cover agent working to undermine the whole scam from within….

      If so, she risks going the route of Howard W. Campbell Jr.

  17. Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Surely there must be requirements to study language before taking up these studies. Is it English? Astonishingly similar, but as any good katydid could tell you, camouflage is a fantastic survival technique.

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Ironically, a lot of this stuff is done through “cultural studies”, which at McGill at least was (last I checked) a unit of the *English* department.

  18. Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    It’s almost as if a body of jargony papers were fed into a Generative Adversarial Neural Network, allowed to iterate a few million times, and then the output published as a paper. In fact, the next hoax should probably be just that, and titled: “On the Quantum Identity of Non-Gendered Patterns in Extra-Cranial Modalities of Cognition” Or whatever the neural network decides the Title should be.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:33 am | Permalink

      I’ve argued before that we need an automated post-modern-translator which outputs in plain text. The old fashioned way of using lists, translations, and grammar rules encoded in a program is a lot of work – perhaps we could train a neural network to do it?

      • darrelle
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        I am not sure it’s worth the trouble. After hours of work you’d have distilled the 18,000 words down to about 15 that though having a clear meaning would not be new or interesting.

  19. Kevin
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    This is very bad juju.

    She doesn’t have the remotest quantitative or intuitive understanding of mathematical or physical phenomena.

    Hoax or not, this is a very bad paper.

  20. Gareth
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    “clarity fetishism” sounds interesting, I googled this and was sad to discover that its apparently not a thing, though a certain Mistress Clarity is.
    Maybe clarity fetishism is a fetish for Mistress Clarity?
    Maybe she whips you if you speak gibberish.

    I figured the paper is for real, PCC has made me awfully pessimistic about this sort of thing.

    And I see that she lives in Utrecht (or at least has an address here), at the very least, she has good taste in cities.

    • Posted June 1, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Haraway I think says somewhere that if she can’t be understood, it is *always* the fault of her reader.

      She’s at least in part a charlatan, incidentally. For example, I heard her speak at McGill (after I returned to Montreal, not as an undergraduate) where she said because she was in Montreal she’d do philosophy in a gallic (“not analytic” – as she said) mode, like “Spinoze”.

      I am no analytic philosopher, but this bashing is silly. Worse, of cousre, is that Spinoza was a Dutchman, with Spanish-Portuguese background. What “Gallic”? He wouldn’t have spoken a word of French. He *was* a (critical) Cartesian at first (reading Descartes in Latin), but Descartes is anathema to many of these folks, so …

    • Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:28 am | Permalink

      One thing that paper does is scrupulously avoid fetishizing clarity.

  21. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Can’t tell what the blank it is as I can only read English.

  22. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    😂. I am totally loving this post and I’m totally loving all the comments.

    Fortunately or unfortunately I am able to understand what this woman is writing. Lol. As well even understand why or how she was able to journey how long of a tickler path to be able to have this paper come out and be excepted. And yes, I too believe that this is a serious paper.

    But at the same time, I agree with all of you that it is totally ridiculous. Even while I do understand what she’s saying, and I understand kind of the “tradition” from which she gains enough confidence to be able to write such a paper, I do have an opinion on this kind of academic genre.
    I think it is over-the-top theoretical and due to the nature of its seriousness, or the intention behind it that is supposed within a common academic realm of seriousness, and it misses it’s Mark, because the nature of the subject that she treats is inherently at odds with the vehicle and Arena that she proposes to have to be considered.

    I am not a scientist, but I am intelligent to know that I could not really get into a discussion with a physicist about all the various theoretical and mathematical understanding of all these terms that they use like non-locality and quantum entanglement stuff like that. I mean, check out ALT exploit blog. He seems to really know what he’s talking about with physics, as well he has a fair opinion on philosophical ideas and authors.

    I to tend to want to use quantum terms to describe the situation that I find about philosophy and about the world and reality. But I don’t presume that there is a direct translation between quantum physics as a science and this more kind a “humanities “philosophy that I’m going to appropriate this quantum terms for. I distinctly say that these terms are “analogous”. The problem with this woman is that she thinks or appears to think that these terms are directly translatable as if there is some sort of thing happening at our physical quantum level that directly implicates or is involved with this intellectual philosophical world of bodies.

    In short these type of post modern authors are involved in a “confusing of the spheres”.

    • Jonathan Dore
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      In other words, file under “category mistake”.

      • Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Thats my view of these “pomo” authors. a categorial error.

        But whats truly wonderful (read:scary) about them is that the Postmodern theoretical base is actually misconstrued in their favor: Their argument is that discourse contains or otherwise IS the entirety of human reality. That discourse, text, determines reality. This is what feminism is about: re-appropriating centers of power. These centers of power are understood to be textual, such that each term is understood as a center of power, implementing as they enforce a proper or correct reality. They argue thus that every use of discourse is a contentious political and ideological site, open for discussion and ripe for uncovering oppressive structures, the first and probably main structure being the woman’s body itself.

        the problem we face in philosophy today, along these lines, is to be able to distinguish where this type of rationale departs from what may be ‘Actual’, since there is indeed oppressive powers structure involved in what and how we say things, and the organization of such things.

        Hence the category mistake that the Pomo theorists will hardly concede. They argue as they enforce their identity as critical theorists. Its like a fundamentalist religion: You can’t argue with them about their method because then you are actually Confirming to them that the methodological processes yield true situations. lol.

        Their identity as very intelligent, cunning, wise and enlightened Beings is at stake if you cut their method off as At juncture. It is not enough to grant credence to their theoretical base with only Some situations: It must be applied to the Entire field of Reality!

        • Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          Indeed, one might suggest that they’re half-right.

          It is true that our entire experiences are entirely within our own consciousnesses. Reality, as far as our selves are concerned, is that which the self experiences.

          You know Deepak’s famous insanity about the Moon only existing when you look at it? When you consider that the actual hunk-o-rock Moon doesn’t exist in your mind, but rather a cluster of symbolism that (hopefully) maps to the hunk-o-rock, he’s right — when you’re not thinking of the Moon, those symbols don’t exist in your consciousness, and those symbols are the Moon as far as your consciousness is concerned.

          Where it all falls down is that we have overwhelming reason to be confident that those symbols in the mind are a pretty darned good map of an actual hunk-o-rock a quarter million miles away, and that the actual hunk-o-rock doesn’t give a damn whether or not it’s in your mental map. The Moon-in-your-mind only exists when you think of it, yes, of course, and that’s the only Moon your consciousness has any actual access to, yes…but only the most narcissistic of solipsists would think that the subjective Moon-in-your-mind has any power over the objective hunk-o-rock.

          Same thing here. Yes, it’s true that all this power politics, as with everything else in the human experience, plays out and exists only as thought patterns in minds. But the theory that that’s the end of reality, as opposed to the beginning, does not withstand inspection. Kick a rock, and the pain you feel in your foot is all the evidence a sane person needs that reality has nothing whatsoever to do with any sort of consensual shared conscious agenda bullshit.

          Cheers,

          b&

          >

          • Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            I remember a while ago this blog posted a Pomo essay about the mysoginiticim of glaciers. Classic! Lol.

            • BJ
              Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

              If you ever want to read that paper, I believe it was called “feminist glaciology.” It really stuck with me…for all the wrong reasons 🙂

        • somer
          Posted June 2, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

          Reality as postmodern incantation – They just like saying “Abracadabra”!

  23. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  24. Sastra
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    This essay possibly has stronger ties to Spirituality than feminism, since it seems to me to be carrying a serious whiff of what used to be called Difference Feminism, a sort of anti-feminist view that women had special capacities to see beyond reason, science, and logic because their hearts were so soft, squiggly, and intuitive. Other than that, it’s just science-meets-consciousness boilerplate.

    All that verbiage probably boils down to this: “Science without Spirituality is closed-minded, judgmental, controlling, and restrictive — like when your parents told you you were bad for doing things wrong when you were just being creative and nuanced. F*ck them, and all that Western patriarchal hegemonic history of telling people what to do and how to be and what’s real or not. Science is not the boss of ME and now quantum physics shows that our so-called imagination was right. MARGINALIZED POSSIBILITIES. It’s fluid.”

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:39 am | Permalink

      Excellent. I see we have no need for the automated post-modern-translator which outputs in plain text that I mentioned up thread. Except there are more papers than there are people with time to translate them.

      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:52 am | Permalink

        As a further example if you put the phrase “that is, politics are about the hierarchies of what connections, or closenesses, are prioritized as bodily.” into The Up Goer Five Text Editor it flags “politics hierarchies connections closenesses prioritized bodily” as words outside the ten hundred most used words.

  25. CB
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Well, I sort of maybe get what she is getting at. Tho’ I am not sure it is really valid. Torturing language isn’t going to liberate the mind or heart and is contradictory to her thesis in any case. Using an academic forum to try to express something which might be better expressed or conveyed in art of some kind-academic language is constrained to have at least the semblance of hierarchical structure and objectivity. Oh well, Good luck to her.

    • eric
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

      I think what she is getting at is “Publication…ka-ching!”

  26. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    You want us to decide whether it is hoax or not-hoax? More enforced binary rhetoric by an elitist member of the dominant hegemony.

    • Peter
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      … by a cisgender white male elitist member of the dominant hegemony, please

      • DiscoveredJoys
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:53 am | Permalink

        …and sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

  27. DrBrydon
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    When I hit that second sentence in your first quote (which you later call out for being horrible writing), I knew that this was real. As someone once quipped, a work like this detracts from the sum total of human knowledge.

  28. FloM
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    I’m glad epigenetics has finally found a good home!

  29. Tom
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    Is there such a thing as quantum creep?

  30. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    You just know this is going nowhere when you encounter Donna bloody Haraway in the first sentence.

  31. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I about spit my coffee when reading “akin to how electrons experience the world.” However, upon reflection, I had never considered that my status as a white, elderly, rich, cis-hetero privileged male caused my blindness to the exceptionally confined world of the electron.

    • DiscoveredJoys
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:57 am | Permalink

      An electron, conceived as a charged particle, is obviously violently binary. In a perfectly ordered world, not dominated by the male view, all matter will be composed only of neutral particles with fuzzy edges.

      • Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:30 am | Permalink

        Spins fall on a spectrum, though.

  32. Posted May 31, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it great, postmodernists firmly established one new law in their field, which is of course the now famous Poe’s Law. It makes it impossible to tell hoax from serious paper.

    I guess, “quantum” is used metaphorically as a way to suggest something continuous, and superimposed. Humans then interpret it as either particle or wave, imposing a structure (colonial white male?) but in reality it is somehow both and neither, more of a field, and this “real” understanding is better, but also threatens the Western patriarchal order, or something, i.e. usual postmodernist gobbledygook between trivial true and utter bollocks, that hasn’t changed at all ever since Deluze and Guattari overestimated themselves, and found an audience that cannot not be overestimated.

    I guess it’s real, but according to Barthes, the author is dead anyway, and “intent isn’t magic”, as they say. It doesn’t matter anyway.

    • Tom
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps we should regard this as an exercise in how many metaphors can be crammed into an article?
      It hardly makes sense as it is and the metaphors can be cut and pasted in any order and remarkably, still not make sense.
      Is this lady familiar with Oulipo?

  33. Posted May 31, 2017 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    George Orwell wrote about this sort of thing in 1946, in his famous essay, Politics and the English Language. (Available at http://www.resort.com/~prime8/Orwell/patee.html and elsewhere.) In the intervening 71 years the problem has only gotten worse, but the symptom is the same: if you have nothing to say, or have no clear idea of what you want to say, or want to obscure your real meaning because saying it clearly would be too offensive or ridiculous, then write crap like this.

  34. Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t see a ‘below the fold’ here, so I am going to propose that this one is a hoax. It is so wacky that I suspect it was generated by entering some physics terminology into a pomo synthesizer.

  35. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Appreciating this is too big a quantum leap for me.

    But,
    I am unable to resist passing a bit of this thru Google’s language translator into other languages and then returning the other back to English(!!!).

    English original:

    These intentional quantum-style political strategies that emerge, gather, and disperse, in which energy/people are in multiple movements/moments at once, exchange, have wavelike properties, simultaneously embed themselves as illegible to traditionalized subject-based understandings. And thus they are not legible in these understandings’ systems of authentification.

    Polish Google translation:

    Te umyślne strategie polityczne kwantowej, które pojawiają się, zbierają i rozpraszają, w których energia / ludzie są w wielu ruchach / chwilach naraz, wymiana, mają podobne właściwości, jednocześnie przykuwają się jako nieczytelne do tradycyjnie rozumianych koncepcji. I w ten sposób nie są czytelne w tych systemach autentyzacji tych rozumień.

    That Polish translated back to English:

    These intentional quantum political strategies that emerge, gather and disperse, in which energy / people are in many movements / moments at once, have similar properties, while at the same time catching up as unreadable to traditionally understood concepts. And so they are not legible in these systems of authenticating these understandings.

    • Sixtus
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      My God (so to speak), what have you done!? Google Translator learns from the material it is asked to translate, especially if their original translation is not corrected. Submission of the pomo original just set the algorithm back 10 years! You know this causes airline computers to crash, don’t you?

      • Richard
        Posted June 1, 2017 at 1:05 am | Permalink

        He has just unleashed Skynet on the world!

    • BJ
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      This is hilarious. Usually Google Translate can’t properly translate the simplest phrases from one language to another, and yet it made this mess of a paper more easily digestible.

      Great job!

  36. Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I am very very upset about the misappropiation of my nickname. Long before these types of inane papers were being written, my name at sleepaway camp was Pomo, short for my last name Pomerantz. It has stuck with me for over 50 years. I would ask my fellow adherents to this website and of Prof. Celing Cat to refrain from the use of Pomo to describe this type of postmodern jibber jabber!!!

    On a more serious note, as a lawyer who was taught and strives to eliminate legal jargon in papers submitted to Judges, this type of writing makes me shudder. Obviously, this author has nothing worth saying because of the obfuscation. Or, has no understanding of the subject. Praraphrasing Einstein, if you can’t explain a phenomena in simple terms, you don’t fully understand it.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      A Google search of POMO includes: a tribe of Indians, Permanent Open Market Operations, a musician, and various fruits in various languages.
      The 8th hit is its entry in Wiktionary, which is the first hit to mention it as an abbreviation of Post-modern.

      If one Googles “pomo Pomerantz”, the first hit is a blog post by a James Pomerantz on post-modernism, and the second hit is a newsletter article in a California Indian Newsletter which cites a Gary Pomerantz in an article about a Native American basketball player named John Jordan. Other articles in the same newsletter reference Pomo Indians and one of the newsletter’s editors is Pomo.

      Draw your own conclusions.

  37. BJ
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    OK, I’m again not going to read the comments or do any research before answering, just to be fair.

    I find this one very easy to believe, considering one feminist called Newton’s Principia a “rape manual” and another said we don’t fully understand fluid dynamics because fluids are associated with femininity, and therefore all the cishet white male physicists aren’t interested in it.

    • BJ
      Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      I knew it! Especially with the style of writing. It was so pomo it just had to be real. Nobody could fake it that well.

  38. Adam M.
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    It reminds me of Francis E. Dec, Esq. of Gangster-computer-God worldwide secret containment policy fame.

  39. Posted May 31, 2017 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    It seems that many postmodern ‘paper(s)’are unintentional hoaxes(?)(!). (..).

    rz

  40. Posted May 31, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    This paper is in quantum superposition, it’s a hoax when your looking and real enough when your not.

  41. eric
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    I suspect her entire thesis could have been put into a single paragraph

    That would be no bad thing, if that paragraph promotes a new interesting hypothesis or provides new insight into how the world works. I was able to put six years’ of research results onto three pretty simple graphs, and I’m sure that many scientists could easily “beat” that record.

    To borrow from Pascal, postmodernism is a case of “I have made this longer than usual because I have not had the content to make it shorter.”

  42. Steve Gerrard
    Posted May 31, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    The artificial/arbitrary/colonialized bipartite distinction made by the finale question “is this a hoax paper or not?” is symptomatic/indicative/implicative of the unearned hegemony/dominance/privilege of the literate class. This paper shall not be subsumed/engulfed/delegitimatized by the imposition of a false binary. Binaries are bad.

  43. Posted May 31, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    It’d sure be cool if my essays got so much coverage. Lol.

  44. barael
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    How is this accept/able w(r)i(ti)ng in a/n/y cont(e)xt?

  45. Colin McLachlan
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    I WANT YOU TO READ THESE!

    No, please, no more Professor. I’ll promise to be good. Just don’t make me read any more. My brain hurts.

    • BJ
      Posted June 1, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      We have to convince the people who comment every time that “this is just an isolated incident.”

  46. Posted June 1, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Without meaning to I started reading it as though it was Slam Poetry. Helped a little with the reading but not at all with the understanding.

  47. Taz
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Her thesis seems to be that there is a kind of “quantum feminism” that overcomes the political hegemony of Newtionian physics, which itself is somehow ideologically unpalatable because it emphasizes the “binary” and thus creates “othering”, sexism, and similar us/them distinctions:

    I invite Ms. Stark to head to the nearest cliff and demonstrate that gravity is a social construct.

  48. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    Is it me, or is there something about the word “Pomo”?

    Is it the font?

    Perhaps it could use a little covering up:

    P0mo

    … hmmm, not helping….

  49. drorharari
    Posted June 1, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    She sure knows lots of works 😎

  50. Jim Smith
    Posted June 2, 2017 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    Identity studies meets real world. Never a pretty site.

  51. Diane G.
    Posted June 2, 2017 at 4:13 am | Permalink

    sub


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