Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness

Book description: In Authoring Autism Melanie Yergeau defines neurodivergence as an identity—neuroqueerness—rather than an impairment. Using a queer theory framework, Yergeau notes the stereotypes that deny autistic people their humanity and the chance to define themselves while also challenging cognitive studies scholarship and its reification of the neurological passivity of autistics. She also critiques early intensive behavioral interventions—which have much in common with gay conversion therapy—and questions the ableist privileging of intentionality and diplomacy in rhetorical traditions. Using storying as her method, she presents an alternate view of autistic rhetoricity by foregrounding the cunning rhetorical abilities of autistics and by framing autism as a narrative condition wherein autistics are the best-equipped people to define their experience. Contending that autism represents a queer way of being that simultaneously embraces and rejects the rhetorical, Yergeau shows how autistic people queer the lines of rhetoric, humanity, and agency. In so doing, she demonstrates how an autistic rhetoric requires the reconceptualization of rhetoric’s very essence.

Cripping the Computer: A Critical Moment in Composition Studies

co-editor with Elizabeth Brewer (collection in progress)

While developing accessible practices is an important goal, it can often seem an elusive one. Many of us remain unsure of how to practically create accessible texts, never mind disrupt pedagogical infrastructures or cultivate radically inclusive conferences. This born-digital collection, then, seeks to further these conversations, to offer ways of thinking, tinkering, and practicing that empower students, colleagues, and citizens. How, for instance, might we reconceive invention and production under a disability studies framework? What does an ethically responsive digital assignment look like? How can we create professional fora that are both inclusive and participatory?

To that end, Cripping the Computer both elaborates methods for creating accessible texts and argues for the benefit that access yields to our discipline. In this collection, authors consider the practical and theoretical, as well as the pedagogical and scholarly ways in which disability and accessibility inform digital composing practices.

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