Worlds of Autism
Across the Spectrum of Neurological Difference
Amid controversies about the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of autism, a timely collection of new and critical perspectives on how the disorder is understood and represented
Bringing together innovative work on autism by international scholars in the social sciences and humanities, Worlds of Autism boldly challenges the deficit narrative prevalent in both popular and scientific accounts of autism spectrum disorders. A major contribution to this emerging, interdisciplinary field, it situates autism within an abilities framework that respects the complex personhood of individuals with autism.
Since first being identified as a distinct psychiatric disorder in 1943, autism has been steeped in contestation and controversy. Present-day skirmishes over the potential causes of autism, how or even if it should be treated, and the place of Asperger’s syndrome on the autism spectrum are the subjects of intense debate in the research community, in the media, and among those with autism and their families. Bringing together innovative work on autism by international scholars in the social sciences and humanities, Worlds of Autism boldly challenges the deficit narrative prevalent in both popular and scientific accounts of autism spectrum disorders, instead situating autism within an abilities framework that respects the complex personhood of individuals with autism.
A major contribution to the emerging, interdisciplinary field of critical autism studies, this book is methodologically and conceptually broad. Its authors explore the philosophical questions raised by autism, such as how it complicates neurotypical understandings of personhood; grapple with the politics that inform autism research, treatment, and care; investigate the diagnosis of autism and the recognition of difference; and assess representations of autism and stories told by and about those with autism.
From empathy, social circles, and Internet communities to biopolitics, genetics, and diagnoses, Worlds of Autism features a range of perspectives on autistic subjectivities and the politics of cognitive difference, confronting society’s assumptions about those with autism and the characterization of autism as a disability.
Contributors: Dana Lee Baker, Washington State U; Beatrice Bonniau, Paris Descartes U; Charlotte Brownlow, U of Southern Queensland, Australia; Kristin Bumiller, Amherst College; Brigitte Chamak, Paris Descartes U; Kristina Chew, Saint Peter’s U, New Jersey; Patrick McDonagh, Concordia U, Montreal; Stuart Murray, U of Leeds; Majia Holmer Nadesan, Arizona State U; Christina Nicolaidis, Portland State U; Lindsay O'Dell, Open U, London; Francisco Ortega, State U of Rio de Janeiro; Mark Osteen, Loyola U, Maryland; Dawn Eddings Prince; Dora Raymaker; Sara Ryan, U of Oxford; Lila Walsh.
Introduction. Critical Autism Studies: Notes on an Emerging Field
Michael Orsini and Joyce Davidson
Part I. Approaching Autism
1. Autism in an Age of Empathy: A Cautionary Critique
2. Autism and the Posthuman
3. Cerebralizing Autism within the Neurodiversity Movement
4. Autism as a Form of Biological Citizenship
Charlotte Brownlow and Lindsay O’Dell
Part II. Researching the Politics and Practice of Care
5. Autism and Genetics: Profit, Risk, and Bare Life
Majia Holmer Nadesan
6. Caring for Autism: Toward a More Responsive State
7. Participatory Research with Autistic Communities: Shifting the System
Dora Raymaker and Christina Nicolaidis
Part III. Diagnosis and Difference in Autism
8. Capturing Diagnostic Journeys of Life on the Autism Spectrum
9. Divided or Opposed?: The Level of Functioning Arguments in Autism Related Political Discourse in Canada
Dana Lee Baker and Lila Walsh
10. Autism and Social Movements in France: A Comparative Perspective
Brigitte Chamak and Beatrice Bonniau
Part IV. Cultural Productions and Representations of Autism
11. Narrating Autism
12. The Shifting Horizons of Autism Online
Joyce Davidson and Michael Orsini
13. Autism and the Task of the Translator
14. “All the Things I Have Ever Been”: Autoethnographic Reflections on Academic Writing and Autism
Dawn Eddings Prince