Academic Absurdity of the Week: Alan Sokal, Call Your Office

We’ve had occasion many times before to mention the case of physicist Alan Sokal, who hoaxed the postmodern journal Social Text into publishing an article that argued that even physics was “socially constructed,” and just two weeks ago we noted a new hoax about the “socially-constructed penis” and how it is responsible for climate change. Well, file this next one under the heading of articles that prove it is impossible to pull a hoax any more. From the Minnesota Review:

Assembled Bodies: Reconfiguring Quantum Identities

Whitney Stark


In this semimanifesto, I approach how understandings of quantum physics and cyborgian bodies can (or always already do) ally with feminist anti-oppression practices long in use. The idea of the body (whether biological, social, or of work) is not stagnant, and new materialist feminisms help to recognize how multiple phenomena work together to behave in what can become legible at any given moment as a body. By utilizing the materiality of conceptions about connectivity often thought to be merely theoretical, by taking a critical look at the noncentralized and multiple movements of quantum physics, and by dehierarchizing the necessity of linear bodies through time, it becomes possible to reconfigure structures of value, longevity, and subjectivity in ways explicitly aligned with anti-oppression practices and identity politics. Combining intersectionality and quantum physics can provide for differing perspectives on organizing practices long used by marginalized people, for enabling apparatuses that allow for new possibilities of safer spaces, and for practices of accountability.

This appears to be for real, and not a hoax. Whitney Stark is a professor of womens’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.

As usual, the full article is behind a subscription paywall. I’m sure business is booming.