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How does time come to matter? Diffractive Temporalities of Making it to STEM Academia

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Very few women make it to permanent academic positions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields. To make it does not only imply to succeed in doing something, but also doing it in time. In the field of astrophysics, the possibility of getting a permanent position is entangled with specific practice – having time with a telescope. A big part of the astrophysicist’s work rely on applying for time to use the telescope in order to generate data and publish the results. Having time with a telescope matters for early-career female scientists as it opens the doors and possibilities to make it to permanent academic positions. Based on 10 in depth interviews with early-career female scientists working in the field of astrophysics across Danish universities, this paper analyses how material phenomenon, such as work with the telescopes, affectively shapes academic working routines and future aspirations. Engaging with feminist new materialism (Karen Barad) and affect theory (Sara Ahmed), the aim of this paper is to articulate the entanglements of time, affect and matter through the diffractive reading of early career female scientists experiences. I suggest that there are important connections between affect, matter and time, in understanding how temporal orders are negotiated, embodied, resisted and maintained in academic organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023
EventNot this time. Temporalities of ending, editing, and enduring - University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Duration: 24 Apr 202326 Apr 2023


ConferenceNot this time. Temporalities of ending, editing, and enduring
LocationUniversity of Copenhagen
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