This edited collection engages from multiple entry points with a two-day research seminar with Karen Barad. The event, entitled From Queer Theory through Quantum Physics to Questions of Difference, took place at a conference centre in Cape Town (10-11 June 2017). Karen Barad is Distinguished Professor of Feminist Studies, Philosophy, and History of Consciousness at the University of Santa Cruz, California. They are an American queer theorist and quantum physicist, known particularly for their theory of agential realism. 

Agential realism is rapidly gaining traction across disciplines in higher education (see Juelskjær, Plauborg & Adrian, 2021 for examples of agential realism’s influence across several disparate disciplines). In philosophically complex ways, agential realism breaks with the epistemologies, ontologies and ethics of western metaphysics, binary logics and religious mythologies. However, as most academics do not have a background in academic philosophy, research inspired by agential realism is challenging and difficult to access. 

This book addresses this in two ways: first, it provides accessible ways of engaging with agential realism through informal conversations that are diffractively woven through the chapters; secondly a large quantity of the text is written by postgraduate students, whose chapters offer examples of agential realism’s use in various contexts and disciplinary backgrounds. The book thus provides an opportunity for emerging and more established scholars to show how such an event could have ongoing rippling æffects on their work and thinking.


Karin Murris and Vivienne Bozalek