MMAC is pleased to be hosting Elizabeth Fein to discuss her book Living on the Spectrum: Autism and Youth in Community (NYU Press, 2020), a two year, multi-sited ethnographic study of how young people on the autism spectrum negotiate the meanings of their contested condition in their everyday lives, in places where they live, learn, work, play, and love.
What do autism spectrum diagnoses do? How do they aggregate people around particular sets of tendencies and proclivities, and what are the consequences of that process? What happens when diagnoses such as Asperger’s Syndrome expand the terrain of neurodevelopmental disorder into new areas, then constrict back into familiar, medicalized forms? How do patterns of cognitive, social, interpretive, affective, and sensory difference shape our shared social worlds? And how do the demands of those worlds shape the set of developmental outcomes which we have come to call “autism”.