Next DRF Session, 12th April

Friday, 12th April

Time: 11am – 1pm.

Place: 12.02.19 Charles Street Building, Sheffield Hallam University. City Campus

This is on the second floor of the Charles Street Building which is just next to Arundel where we held meetings last year.

Speaker 1: Richard Woods

Title: An Updated Interest Based Account (Monotropism theory) & a Demand Avoidance Phenomenon discussion.”


This talk explores recent literature on monotropism theory to explain Demand Avoidance Phenomenon (DAP). Previous DAP theory focuses on role of anxiety in producing a need for control that is suggested leads to demand avoidance. However, we provide an alternative view by situating in critical DAP scholarship, highlighting the uncertainty around the DAP construct. Utilising the work of Beardon (2017) to develop monotropism to elucidate how anxiety acts in autism & thus, DAP. Monotropism theory clarifies the nature DAP phenotype behaviour from a non-pathologising perspective, bringing DAP theory in line with common views of autistic persons. The theory adds to the epistemic integrity of DAP research & assist in closing the theory-to-research-to-practice gap. Consequently, generating accurate interpretations that can allow for use of suitable strategies.  

Speaker 2: David Hartley

Title: Autism, Replicants and Other Humans: Exploring Fantastical Neurodiversity with Blade Runner (1982)


The encounters of autism and the fantastical Other are fraught with adverse ideological implications wherein autistic individuals are cast as ‘aliens from another planet’ (Ian Hacking, 2009) or treated like ‘cold soulless automatons’ (Penny Winter, 2012). And yet, science-fiction and fantasy fandoms can be places of refuge and community for autistic people who are disaffected by an allistic (non-autistic) world, where neurodiverse heroes such as Spock from Star Trek and The Doctor from Doctor Who often reign supreme. And yet the genres themselves tend to avoid including characters coded as autistic in their narratives, thereby creating a conspicuous void in the cultural representation of autism.

Can the narrative strategies of science-fiction and fantasy be productively reconfigured to better suit the paradigms of neurodiversity? How might the presence of autism help us to rethink the theories of fantastical genres? Might we be able to root out autistic representation in futures and fantasies that have thus far avoided it? This talk will tackle a behemoth of science-fiction, Ridley Scott’s 1982 dystopia Blade Runner, to seek out the possibilities of its neurodiverse message and to find productive autism within its radical replicants. It will also take on the genre at the level of theory by confronting Darko Suvin’s ideas of the ‘cognitive estrangement’ of science-fiction (Suvin, 1979). It asks: exactly whose cognition does he refer to? And whose estrangement?

2 thoughts on “Next DRF Session, 12th April”

  1. Hi! I am really interested in both of these topics but unable to attend the event. Do you ever do video recordings of presentations? Or alternatively, might the authors be willing to share their notes at all? No worries if not. Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Thanks for getting in touch! We don’t do video recordings unfortunately, though I did have a person attend last session via a WhatsApp telephone call so that they could participate from overseas. I’m also happy to ask if the two speakers would be willing to share their notes. Please could you email me on s.r.hannam-swain@shu.ac.uk

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