Field Theories by Samiya Bashir Reviewed in Hyperallergic

Field Theories by Samiya Bashir
Field Theories by Samiya Bashir Reviewed in Hyperallergic

The Physics of Race, History, and Everyday Life by Marcella Durand

Samiya Bashir’s poems attempt to describe with scientific precision the position of the black body in American culture. Starting with her title, Field Theories, Samiya Bashir challenges the vocabulary of science, finding inflections and echoes within that vocabulary of the long and brutal history of race and racially based economic exploitation in the U.S.A. When used within the respective sciences of physics, psychology and social science, the term “field theory” (singular) has specific meanings. “Unified field theory,” in particular, coined by Albert Einstein, refers to the attempt to find a single framework behind all that exists (gravity, however, continues to escape this effort). But by changing “theory” to “theories,” (plural) Bashir subverts that idea of a singular framework to reveal the multiplicity of reality: where there is one reality there will be other realities told in various forms, splitting the dominant narrative into a prism of narratives. In contrasts and convergences, she questions history (histories) and how it is (they are) articulated in even the most objective of “fields.” In fact, “field” itself is a loaded word within slavery’s context, indicating enforced agricultural labor. Read the full review at Hyperallergic