Authoring Autism: On Rhetoric and Neurological Queerness (Thought in the ACT) (Paperback)
In Authoring Autism M. Remi 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. They also critique 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 their method, they present an alternative 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, they demonstrate how an autistic rhetoric requires the reconceptualization of rhetoric's very essence.
M. Remi Yergeau is Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan.