Inter-area/Border Crossing

Organized Panel Session

4 - Quantum Entanglement and Temporal Non-Linearity in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being

Saturday, July 7
2:40 PM - 4:10 PM
Location: Willow, First Floor

In Samantha Frosts Biocultural Creatures, she attempts to build a conception of human beings as biocultural creatures. Through a return to the molecular level, she shows how humans are inextricably shaped by their existence within the world. She collapses the binary of biological and cultural and in doing so raises questions about the distinction of human beings from their surroundings. Frost, while undermining notions of human exceptionalism, wants to assert a useful categorical method of referring to humanity and its capacity to affect change. Thus humanity, and indeed all creatures, are marked as unique temporally— specifically, by group links across past, present, and future. 


Ruth Ozeki’s ‘Time Being’ refers not to the colloquial expression, but rather, is a noun denoting an individual being. Her novel’s protagonists are linked through a shared geographical history and, through Naoko’s diary, across time and space. Ozeki draws upon Hugh Everett’s many - worlds theory of quantum physics to complicate notions of the linearity of time and introduces the possibility of human existence as biocultural creatures transcending time itself. The novel also reminds us that regardless of the potentiality of multiple universes, one’s singular existence as a biocultural creature is always mediated by an inability to escape chronological time materially. This paper aims to examine Ozeki’s text in conversation with Frost’s text as well as Karan Barad’s conception of ‘intra-action’ to analyze how the potential for multiple universes complicates Frost’s argument and perhaps to show that, ultimately, we are all simultaneously Biocultural Creatures and Time Beings.

Leslie Fernandez

University of California, Riverside, United States

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4 - Quantum Entanglement and Temporal Non-Linearity in Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being



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