A progressive scholar has invented a new theory of quantum physics because the methods developed by Isaac Newton were just too “oppressive.”
The new theory is being presented by Whitney Stark, a culture and gender studies researcher with ties to the University of Arizona’s Institute for LGBT Studies. She is also on staff at Utrecht University in the Netherlands as a researcher in culture and gender studies.
Stark argued in a paper for The Minnesota Review that “combining intersectionality and quantum physics” will help in understanding “marginalized people” and create “safer spaces” for them. Thus, she created “intersectional quantum physics.”
Intersectionality explores the interconnectedness of categories like race, sex, class, and sexual orientation. Intersectional feminist theory is centered on understanding the various levels of discrimination women face in each of those categorizations.
Newton’s theory, Stark wrote, was oppressive because it “separated beings” based on their “binary and absolute differences,” which she described as both “hierarchical and exploitative.”
Ultimately, the feminist scholar concluded that Newton’s theories are “part of the apparatus that enables oppression,” according to the National Review, because the 17th-century scientist’s laws of motion established scientific binaries and absolutes, reinforcing classifications like male and female and living and non-living.
Here’s how Stark explained it:
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.
In order to overcome the oppression, Stark suggested combining intersectional feminist theory and quantum physics.
Later in the paper, Stark gave a real-life example of how absolutes and binaries, which were propped up by Newtonian theories, hurt minority groups. She wrote that the tendency within scientific study to classify people has hurt marginalized groups because dominant activist groups have “overshadowed” the work of minority groups.
“For instance,” she wrote, “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.”
Stark argued that the struggles of black feminists were absorbed into the broader category of feminism, which, in her mind, denied legitimacy to them as a separate group because established binaries favor white women over minority women.
It should be noted that Stark doesn’t appear to detail how exactly the actual study of physics might change as a result of her criticism.
In addition to her new “intersectional quantum physics,” Stark urged privileged people to “deprioritize” themselves in order to establish “safer spaces” for minority people.
“For instance, I, being white, should not be in all spaces, positions of authority, or meetings,” she wrote, according to Heat Street. She said her presence could “stall” the forward movement of feminist causes.
In the end, Stark wrote that she hopes the marriage between scientific theory and intersectionality can “enact ways of valuing [people] differently.”