CfP: The Globalisation of Autism: Historical, Sociological, and Anthropological Reflections

Papers are invited for the following symposium:

'The Globalisation of Autism: Historical, Sociological, and Anthropological Reflections'
Organised by Bonnie Evans, QMUL.

Queen Mary, University of London, 20th and 21st April 2017

‘Autism is not limited to a single region or a country; it is a worldwide challenge that requires global action’ – Ban Ki Moon, UN Secretary General, 2012

The autism diagnosis has become an important category of global health; capable of attracting large amounts of funding, shaping disability rights legislation, and impacting education, health and welfare policies internationally. This symposium will bring together scholars from across the world to reflect on how and why the autism category has achieved such significance in shaping international healthcare, research, and policy interventions, since the middle decades of the twentieth century. It will consider how and why autism became a global category, and what the implications of this are for understanding autism, research networks, and health policy in the future. The symposium will lead to a groundbreaking edited collection on the globalisation of autism for a wide international readership.

The symposium will address questions such as:
• How has the autism diagnosis been employed in different national contexts to ensure education, healthcare and disability rights?

• How have facts about autism travelled, and what impact has travel had on these facts?

• How has the neurodiversity movement arisen in response to the growth of autism diagnoses, and what opportunities and challenges has this movement created internationally?

• How has the autism diagnosis changed ideas about children’s typical emotional development in different national or international contexts?

• What role have the neurosciences played in establishing international models of autism?

• How have the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) influenced legal, political, medical and research approaches to autism internationally?

• What has been the role of caregivers and other stakeholders in challenging models of autism developed in the scientific literature both nationally and internationally?

The symposium will consider the political dimension of the autism diagnosis, in particular its role in establishing education, health and welfare rights internationally, and its entry into international human rights discourse.  It will also consider its role in generating new forms of knowledge and research programmes internationally. It aims to encourage dialogue across countries in order to generate new perspectives on how the autism diagnosis has been integrated into different cultural contexts, and the impact that this has had on models of psychological development and individual identity.

Confirmed contributors already include Francisco Ortega (Rio de Janeiro State), Stuart Murray (Leeds), Richard Ashcroft (QMUL), Jonathyne Briggs (Indiana U. Northwest), Des Fitzgerald (Cardiff), Gregory Hollin (Leeds), Kristien Hens (Antwerp), and Bonnie Evans (QMUL).

We encourage application from countries across the world, and from scholars at all stages of their career. We also encourage applications that adopt interdisciplinary approaches and that employ innovative methodological approaches. We have some travel bursaries available for those travelling from abroad.  This symposium is funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Please send the title of your paper together with an abstract of up to 500 words to Please include your name, email address, and your affiliation. Please state clearly if you would like to be considered for one of the bursaries for your travel and/or accommodation. The deadline for submissions is 27th December 2016.