Study Circle: Meeting the Universe Halfway



Krakel, Skåne


In this study circle, we will read parts of the book ”Meeting the Universe Halfway – Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning", by physicist Karen Barad.

Their theory of agential realism has for the past decade become one of the foundations of new materialism - a theoretical field which attempts to break free from the dualistic thinking that structures Western ways of knowing and understanding. New materialism challenges our fundamental assumptions about the world and ourselves, radically redrawing the cognitive map of reality. Certainly, even before the emergence of new materialism, many thinkers have challenged the idea that nature and society, object and subject can be meaningfully distinguished. Of fundamental importance to this critique have been questions of power: dualistic understandings and descriptions of reality are not natural, objective, and purely descriptive, but rather create the divisions they claim to simply describe.

A great contribution of feminist, postcolonial and ecological thinking has been to challenge the foundational dualisms of Western science and the power relations, in which it is steeped. The theorists of new materialism take this thrust one step further in creating a theory that not only challenges, but does away with these dualisms, exploring a new way of understanding the world. Barad’s quantum interpretation attempts to include everything in our world: from physics to ethics and agency. Fundamentally, Barad’s interpretation explores questions like ‘what is the nature of reality?’, ‘who or what shapes it, and how?’. Interestingly, the new materialist theories are very ambitious and far-reaching in their reconceptualisation of the world, but their political implications are not always easily grasped or clear. Krakel invites you to this study circle, in which we will attempt to tackle this complex work together, while also exploring whether new materialism changes and/or should change anything about our political analysis and organizing.

After this complicated introduction, we would like to make clear that anyone who is interested in this theme is welcome to join, and it is not at all necessary that everyone tackles the reading. If you feel intrigued but confused by this introduction – sign up! The most rich learning happens when we pool our perspectives and experiences. Several participants are already familiar with the text, and discussing it together in meaningful ways does not require everyone understanding or even reading the text to begin with. Relating the reading to the world and our lived experiences in it is usually where the richest analysis happens, and anyone interested in participating in discussions can be an important contributor to that!

The study circle will be led by Patrik and held in person at Brobygatan 7, beginning

Thursday 18/1, thereafter every other Wednesday from 31/1 to 10/4.

To participate one must be a member of Krakel, which costs 150 kr/year. As a member you are able to participate in everything Krakel does, as well as organize your own activities.


The circle is organised in collaboration with ABF Malmö.