Author:Karen Barad (UCSC)
Paper short abstract:
Diffractively reads insights from quantum theory and first-hand account of Nagasaki bombing through one another, bringing to the fore a troubling of scalar distinctions between the world of subatomic particles and that of colonialism, war, nuclear physics research, and environmental destruction.
Paper long abstract:
This paper examines the ethico-onto-epistemological implications of dis/junctions of being and time by reading insights from Quantum Field Theory and Kyoko Hayashi's account of the destruction wrought by the Nagasaki bombing through one another. The diffraction of spacetime at the core of quantum field theory troubles the scalar distinction between the world of subatomic particles and that of colonialism, war, nuclear physics research, and environmental destruction, all of which entangle the effects of nuclear warfare throughout the present time, troubling the binaries between micro and macro, nature and culture, nonhuman and human. Attempting to think through what possibilities remain open for an embodied re-membering of the past which, against the colonialist practices of erasure and avoidance and the related desire to set time aright, calls for thinking a certain undoing of time, a work of mourning accountable to those most profoundly affect by ongoing ecological destruction and of racist, colonialist, and nationalist violence, human and otherwise. This task is related to rethinking the notion of the void. Against its Newtonian interpretation as the absence of matter and energy, as that which does not matter and thus works to justify colonial occupation, I argue that the QFT void is a spectral domain where life and death are originarily entangled, and inanimate matter itself gives itself to be thought in its mortal finitude. The void is rather the yearning and the imagining of what might have been, and thus also the infinitely rich ground of imagining possibilities for living and dying otherwise.
Feminist Technoscience Studies in Unexpected Places: (Intra)Activism and Social Justice