Aut-ors of our Experience: Interrogating Intersections of Autistic Identity


  • Jessica L. Benham Department of Communication, University of Pittsburgh
  • James S. Kizer Gender & Women’s Studies Department, Minnesota State University, Mankato



Autism, Identity, Performativity, Academia, Neurodiversity, Auto-ethnography, Crip theory


Narratives of the Autistic experience are often told, interpreted, and assigned value by people who are not Autistic, allowing dominant cultural understandings of Autism to pervade without substantial inquiry. In academia, a space in which there is little room for Autistic people in the first place, the power of these dominant ideologies is used to minimize our voices, dismiss our concerns, and devalue our insights. Drawing from Spry’s definition of auto-ethnography and using the works of Derrida and Ronell as aesthetic inspiration, we share and interpret our lived experiences to reclaim our Autistic academic identity. We deliberately disrupt conventions of scholarly writing and storytelling to demonstrate that Autistic narratives should and do interrupt, challenge, or even completely undermine academic normativity. We deploy this cripping-up of our experiences to interrogate how Autistic identity is constructed and negotiated in academia. In doing so, we explore avenues to integrate and celebrate Autism in academic spaces so that scholarship in disability studies, critical autism studies, and gender studies can be enhanced.


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How to Cite

Benham, J. L., & Kizer, J. S. (2016). Aut-ors of our Experience: Interrogating Intersections of Autistic Identity. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 5(3), 77–113.