The Intersection of Identity and Performing Arts of Black Physicists

August 2018

Abstract: How one negotiates their physics identity is crucial to gaining and maintaining membership in the physics community. However, there is an exclusive culture of physics that has marginalized Black people and leads them to feel that they do not fit the criteria of who a physicist is supposed to be. Therefore, to understand what keeps Black physicists in the field, we must analyze their physics experiences. Studies show that the arts can act as an identity mediator or coping mechanism for underrepresented groups in STEM. In this work, we collect and analyze interviews of thirteen Black physicists, building on previous studies. We find themes in the ways that Black physicists participate in the performing arts. We map those themes onto the previously-developed Critical Physics Identity (CPI) framework in order to understand how the arts have impacted their physics identities.

Written By: Tamia Williams

Collaborators: Simone Hyater-Adams, Kathleen A. Hinko, Claudia Fracchiolla, Kerstin Nordstrom, and Noah D. Finkelstein

Intersectionality and Physics Identity: A Case Study of Black Women from Different Nationalities
Deconstructing Black Physics Identity: Linking Individual and Social Constructs Using the Critical Physics Identity Framework

Let's Work Together