Quantum Masculinities: Doing Gender with Max Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis

Authors

  • Joseph Gelfer Université Catholique de l'Ouest
  • Joseph Organ Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.17583/mcs.2018.3470

Keywords:

men, masculinities, quantum physics

Abstract

In his book Our Mathematical Universe, Max Tegmark proposes a way of viewing “reality” as a multiverse of parallel universes governed by mathematics. In this article we take a few of Tegmark’s more accessible ideas and combine them with the study of masculinities to form “quantum masculinities.” Specifically, we use Tegmark’s presentation of the multiverse and the quantum state of superposition as a thinking tool for imagining not just multiple masculinities but infinite and contradictory masculinities. We then mobilize this newly proposed concept of quantum masculinities in two contexts. First, we put quantum masculinities in dialogue with Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity to question to what degree gender performance requires an observer. Second, we explore how far quantum masculinities are reconcilable with The Five Stages of Masculinity. We conclude with some discussion about the categories of “I” and “we” in imagining the self, as well as how the study of masculinities might evolve.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

References

Boghossian, Peter, and James Lindsay. “The Conceptual Penis as a Social Construct: A Sokal-Style Hoax on Gender Studies.” Skeptic, 2017. https://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/conceptual-penis-social-contruct-sokal-style-hoax-on-gender-studies. Accessed 15 April 2018.

Barad, Karen. “A Feminist Approach to Teaching Quantum Physics.” Teaching the Majority: Breaking the Gender Barrier in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, edited by S. V. Rosser, Teachers College Press, 1995, pp. 43–75.

Beasley, Chris. “Mind the gap? Masculinity Studies and Contemporary Gender/Sexuality Thinking.” Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 28, no. 75, pp. 108–124.

——. “Caution! Hazards Ahead: Considering the Potential Gap Between Feminist Thinking and Men/Masculinities Theory and Practice.” Journal of Sociology, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 566–581.

Bridges, Tristan, and C. J Pascoe. “Hybrid Masculinities: New Directions in the Sociology of Men and Masculinities.” Sociology Compass, vol.8, no. 3, pp. 246–258.

Brod, Harry. “Introduction: Themes and Theses of Men’s Studies.” The Making of Masculinities: The New Men’s Studies, edited by Harry Brod, Allen & Unwin, 1987, pp. 1–20.

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (2nd ed.), Routledge, 1999.

Christiaens, Wim Alex. “The Deleuzian Concept of Structure and Quantum Mechanics.” Probing the Meaning of Quantum Mechanics: Physical, Philosophical, and Logical Perspectives, edited by Diederik Aerts, World Scientific Publishing, 2014, pp. 189–208.

Crockett, Clayton. Deleuze Beyond Badiou: Ontology, Multiplicity, and Event. Columbia University Press, 2013.

Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia (B. Massumi, Trans.). University of Minnesota Press, 1987.

Frenkel, Edward. “Ad Infinitum: ‘Our Mathematical Universe,’ by Max Tegmark.” The New York Times, 2014. https://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/16/books/review/our-mathematical-universe-by-max-tegmark.html. Accessed 15 April 2018.

Gelfer, Joseph. “Will the Real Joseph Gelfer Please Stand Up: Multiple Masculinities and the Self.” NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, vol. 7, no. 2, 2012, pp. 125–138.

——. “The Five Stages of Masculinity: A New Model for Understanding Masculinities.” Masculinities and Social Change, vol. 5, no. 3, 2016, pp 268–294.

——. Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy. Routledge, 2009.

——. Joseph Gelfer (drjosephgelfer). “Masculinity in 2016 appears to be in simultaneous states of extremity: increased normativity, increased queerness.” 7 Mar 2016, 09:41 UTC. Tweet.

Gonsalves, Allison, Anna Danielsson, and Helena Pettersson. “Masculinities and Experimental Practices in Physics: The View from Three Case Studies.’ Physical Review Physics Education Research 12: 020120, 2016.

Gottzén, Lucas. “Is Masculinity Studies Really the ‘Odd Man Out’?” NORMA: Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, in press, 2018.

Halberstam, Judith. Female Masculinity. Duke University Press, 1998.

Harding, Sandra. The Science Question in Feminism. Open University Press, 1986.

Hermans, Hubert, and Harry Kempen. The Dialogical Self: Meaning as Movement. Academic Press, 1993.

Keller, Evelyn Fox. Reflections on Gender and Science. Yale University Press, 1985.

Krondorfer, Björn. “God’s Hinder Parts and Masculinity’s Troubled Fragmentations: Trajectories of Critical Men’s Studies in Religion.” Preprints and Working Papers of the Center for Religion and Modernity, WWU Münster, 2017, 14.

McConnell, Allen R. “The Multiple Self-Aspects Framework: Self-Concept Representation and its Implications.” Personality and Social Psychology Review, vol. 15, no. 1, 2011, pp. 3–27.

P-Orridge, Genesis. Thee Psychick Bible: Thee Apocryphal Scriptures ov Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and Thee Third Mind ov Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth. Feral House, 2010.

Pettersson, Helena. “Making Masculinity in Plasma Physics: Machines, Labour and Experiments.” Science Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, 2011, pp. 47–65.

Powis, Dick (dtpowis). “Dibs on ‘quantum masculinities.’ #buzzwords #jobmarket https://t.co/fSUuj7nQ8s”. 7 Mar 2016, 13:58 UTC. Tweet.

Schiebinger, Londa. Has Feminism Changed Science? Harvard University Press, 1999.

Sokal, Allan. “Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity.” Social Text, vol. 46/47, 1996, pp. 217–252.

Taylor, Charles. The Ethics of Authenticity. Harvard University Press, 1991.

Tegmark, Max. Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality. Alfred A. Knopf, 2014.

Woit, Peter. “Book Review: ‘Our Mathematical Universe’ by Max Tegmark.” The Wall Street Journal, 2017. https://www.wsj.com/articles/book-review-8216our-mathematical-universe8217-by-max-tegmark-1389992755. Accessed 15 April 2018.

Downloads

Published

2018-10-21

How to Cite

Gelfer, J., & Organ, J. (2018). Quantum Masculinities: Doing Gender with Max Tegmark’s Mathematical Universe Hypothesis. Masculinities &Amp; Social Change, 7(3), 213–229. https://doi.org/10.17583/mcs.2018.3470

Issue

Section

Articles