Bright Lines: Culture On the Autistic Spectrum

full name / name of organization: 
Jes Battis, Assistant Professor, Department of English
contact email: 
jbattis@gmail.com

"Am I on the spectrum?" asks Abed Nadir, a character on the show Community. He then provides an answer: "None of your business." His joke presumes that the audience will understand this reference to the autism spectrum, and Community introduces the topic of Asperger's Syndrome in its pilot episode. Since the publication of Temple Grandin's work on autism in 1986, there has been a textual explosion of work on Asperger's Syndrome and the autism spectrum. Changes to the DSM-V will replace Asperger's Syndrome with Autistic Spectrum Disorder, a broadening that could threaten the culture that aspie/AS-identified people have produced in the form of literature and visual media. This volume would explore representations of autism within popular culture. Potential topics might include, but are not limited to:

The autism spectrum on television: Glee, Parenthood, Community, Criminal Minds, and other programs.

Cinematic representations: Adam, The Social Network, Mozart and the Whale, Temple Grandin, Molly, Rain Man.

Youtube films made by people on the spectrum (including vlogs like Wrong Planet and Injured Minds)

Literary characters on the spectrum.

Nonfiction by Hans Asperger, John Elder Robison, Temple Grandin, Kamila Markram, Rudy Simone, Jesse Saperstein, and others.

Aspergirl culture and the popular representation of women on the spectrum.

Youth culture and the neurodiversity movement.

Parallels between aspie culture and nerd culture.

Autism in academia.

Gender and sexuality on the spectrum.

Theories (such as Intense World Theory) applied to autism.

Histories of autism and premodern representations.

Abstracts (500-1000 words) are due by May 1/2011 (if there is considerable interest, the deadline will be extended). Completed chapters of 20-30 pages would be due by November 1/2011.

Send abstracts to: jbattis@gmail.com

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