The Society for Critical Exchange

Autism and Representation:
Writing, Cognition, Disability
October 28-30, 2005
Cleveland, OH

Call For Papers


Disability Studies has largely overlooked the culture and discourses of cognitive disabilities. Nonetheless, one cognitive disorder has begun to receive a great deal of attention both in the academy and in the popular media: Autism. The success of fictional works (e.g., Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) and nonfictional books and films by and about Autism/Asperger's people has fueled this attention.

But though a number of educational, clinical and medical approaches to Autism Spectrum Disorders have emerged and yielded a large body of publications, the fascinating and potentially fruitful relationships between Autism/Asperger's and the humanities have barely been explored. With the recent dramatic rise in diagnoses of Autism, it is particularly urgent that we undertake such an exploration. This conference, therefore, aims to bring together scholars in the humanities and the cognitive sciences in order to shed new light on the nature and forms of autistic representation and to trace the lines of connection and demarcation between Autism/Asperger's writing and thinking and that of more typical human beings.

We seek proposals for papers, panels, and workshops that discuss the relationships between Autism Spectrum Disorders and representation. How is Autism/Asperger’s depicted in literary works, on film and television, in clinical discourses, in legal documents and other textual sources? What novel forms does autistic creativity assume? How does autistic representation - whether by or merely about autists - enable us to reconsider "normal" modes of representation? What do these representations reveal about the nature of human cognition, ability and sociability?

Topics may include (but are not limited to) the following:

Autism as Text
Autistic Cultures
Filming Autism
Writing Autistically
Autism and TV
Autism and Autobiography/biography
Autism and the Law
The Politics of Autism/Asperger's
Autism in History/Histories of Autism
Writing for Autists
Children's Literature and Autism
Autism and Alternate Textualities (e.g., graphic arts, assistive technologies, etc.)
Fictions of Autism
Stereotypes and Stereotypies
The Poetry of Autism/Autism as Poetry
Autistic Speech vs. Autistic Writing
Autism and Deconstruction/Deconstructing Autism
Criticism and Autism/Autistic Critics

Please send paper abstracts, panel and workshop proposals, (no full papers please!) as well as a CV no more than two pages by June 15, 2005 to Mark Osteen.

mosteen [at]

Department of English
Loyola College in Maryland
4501 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21210

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