Reminder: next DRF seminar: imagining autistic children’s play otherwise and philosophical musings on care. Thursday 20th November, 12-2, Room 10111

A reminder that our next DRF seminar is Thursday 20th November, 12-2, Room 10111. There will be papers and discussion from John Rees and Jill Smith. All welcome

Slot 1: John Rees, Independent Scholar: Care – essence of our being?

Abstract: Care: a philosophical and political concept that is consciously acted upon in life – why do we care? We have the word that completes the thoughts that with that word we shape our practice. Our practice then completes that process in which thought is enriched and is completed into a rich and engaging intervention into the lives of others, a dialectic of love precisely because of the contradictions thrown up by care under the rule of capital.

Slot 2:  Jill Smith, Sheffield Hallam University: Imagining otherwise for autistic children’s play

Abstract: This paper was written as the result of recent collaborative work with Prof Dan Goodley as part of The University of Sheffield’s Exploring Play MOOC: The Importance of Play in Everyday Life. I tell stories of everyday autistic childhoods which move away from the narrow focus of traditional developmental psychology and autism studies and instead draw inter-disciplinary threads from childhood studies, critical disability studies, and most recently, the emotional geographies. These are stories that I would suggest, families are already telling, but that the study of autism, and autistic children’s play leave largely untold. I spend time with autistic children and their families, at home, school, in parks and digging in allotments telling stories about their lived, bodily, sensorial experiences of everyday life. These embodied experiences often (I’d suggest almost always), involve play. From the outset that might be challenged by some as dominant narratives of autism would have us believe that autistic children often do not play, that abnormal play, or no play, is itself a ‘symptom’ of autism. In this paper I aim to reclaim play for autistic children (and disabled children more broadly). I question normative notions of play to open up definitions of what it means to play and what kind of space play should be. In re-imagining a conceptualisation of play, we are able to re-imagine autism, and collectively imagine otherwise for autistic children’s play.

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