CFP: Autistic Representation & Engagement in Media Narratives

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Autistic Representation & Engagement in Media Narratives.

Call for papers.

Autism is becoming a controversial topic within contemporary Western culture, arguably due to a lack of information and out-dated perceptions of the condition. Autistic adults are increasingly using social media as a way to try and get their voices heard, and to challenge prevalent narratives, and what they see as abusive and dangerous practices used to try and ‘cure’ the condition. The Neurodiversity movement in particular, seeks to open up discussion and awareness of Autism as something inherent to Autistic people, rather than as a disease to be cured.

However, the Anti-vax movement has served to further demonise Autistic people, whilst cult celebrities have used social media to attack Autistic activists for criticising problematic charities such as Autism Speaks. Autistic voices are still struggling to be heard, and often suffer from being infantilised or dismissed due to being perceived by archaic labels as “high functioning” and thus not “properly” Autistic.

Representation in media, is therefore, a critical issue for Autistic people. Whilst there is increasingly an acknowledgement of Autism with film and television, the way it is depicted can be controversial. Often Autistic voices are ignored, and not involved in the production of these texts. Children’s television cartoon Pablo stars an Autistic boy and has Autistic voices involved with the production. The stage play All in a Row used a creepy puppet to represent an Autistic child and created a great deal of controversy on social media, including protests from Autistic people. Netflix series Atypical has had mixed reactions due to its perceived stereotypical representations.

There are also a great deal of texts that are not necessarily open about featuring Autistic characters, but which many have interpreted that way. These include Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory, Tilly in Star Trek: Discovery, and various incarnations of The Doctor in Doctor Who. This call for paper is interested in both literal representation in media, but also how Autistic communities and viewers might find and read characters as Autistic.

This is a preliminary call for papers and proposals for an edited collection using a broad range of approaches in the exploration of both Autistic representation and engagement within media texts.

Proposals could address, but are not limited to:

  • Representation of Autism in Film & TV
  • Controversial texts and promotions.
  • Autistic fandom
  • Representations of race and gender
  • Metaphors for Autism in narratives
  • Critical viability and acceptance
  • Historical and political discourses around Autism.
  • Conspiracy narratives
  • Anti-fandom and celebrities
  • Promoting Autism
  • Interpretation characters as Autistic
  • Autistic writers, directors, and actors e.g. Anthony Hopkins
  • Autistic experiences in viewing media
  • Autism, anxiety, and the horror genre
  • Co-morbid conditions and disabilities
  • Right-wing and anti-SJW Autistic fans
  • Fandom, special interests, and hyper-focus
  • Fan-fiction and fan art
  • Neurodiversity movement

Proposals and abstracts of approximately 300 words with a short bio can be submitted to Mark Richard Adams by 30th November 2019, at drmarkrichardadams@gmail.com . Also feel free to email to express interest or with any questions.

 

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