Welcome to the Class Blog Site!

We are glad you navigated your way here and are ready to engage with your classmates in this virtual space. To get us started we wanted to share a few thoughts to consider as you work through your first set of readings. You want to read the texts and interact with the materials critically. Your goal is to try and make meaning and to understand the meaning being made by the authors.

Remember that this is a class on representation and discourses of autism so you want to engage with the readings with that in mind. We are not looking for some “universal truth” of what autism “is” or “means.” There is no such thing. Rather, we are exploring how it is represented, constructed and taken up through various cultural forms.

To that end, some questions you might consider as you closely read the texts:

  • How do people who either identify as autistic or have been labeled as such describe the experience of autism?
    • What matters to them?
    • How do they make sense of/ narrate their own experiences?
    • Do these descriptions imply an acceptance/embracing of an autistic affiliation or a rejection of such a construction? Does that matter?
    • What was the author’s intended purpose with the piece? Who was the target audience? What “seat” does the author assume you occupy?
    • How do individuals in the “professional” community define/ construct autism? To what end? Who is the intended audience?
    • How do these representations differ?
    • As this is also a course on media and cultural representation, how is autism “used” in culture? What function does the construct serve? Whose interests are being met or advanced?
    • Remember that these constructions and representations to do not occur in a vacuum. What are the implications of these constructions? What are the material consequences? How do these representations both reflect and actively contract out understandings of people and their participation in the world?