CALL FOR PAPERS- Feminist perspectives on Neurodiverstiy and Neuronormativity

Feminist Perspectives on Neurodiversity and Neuronormativity

Webinar: 29 Jan 2021

Feminist Studies Association UK & Ireland (FSA) & Neurodiversity Reading Group London

Deadline abstracts: 16 Nov 2020

In recent years, there has been an exponential growth of intersectional theory, feminist and trans(feminist) activism, and an emerging field of neurodiversity studies. Neurodiversity is a social and political category that refers to neurodivergent people – i.e. dyslexics, ADHDers, dyspraxics, Tourette(r)s, dyscalculics and autistics – and neurotypical people. Rejecting the medical or individual model of disability, a neurodiversity perspective recognises that neurodiversity functions as an organising principle of society: ‘neuronormativity’ – i.e. norms of neurotypicality and neuroableism – structurally privileges neurotypical people and disadvantages neurodivergent people. At the same time, there is an increasing intersectional awareness of how neurodiversity – including both neurodivergence and neurotypicality – is marked by gender and cis-trans specificities and inequalities as well as by race, class, sexuality and, for instance, geopolitical location. This understanding, then, does not approach neurodiversity ‘neutrally’: its baseline is to support struggles against not only neuro-ableism (including saneism and ableism) and sexism and misogyny, but also anti-black and other forms of racism, Islamophobia, transphobia and trans-exclusion, classism, and sexuality-based oppression. However, there remains a gap in knowledge production about these complexities.

As part of the webinar series Feminist Perspectives on Disability, the Feminist Studies Association and the Neurodiversity Reading Group London invite submissions to the webinar ‘Feminist Perspectives on Neurodiversity and Neuronormativity’. Submissions are invited to explore (1) feminist, queer, trans and, more generally, intersectional explorations of neurodiversity – e.g. of neurodiversity studies, the neurodiversity movement, neurotypicality, the conceptualisation of neurodiversity, of neuroableism and neuronorms, and of neurodivergent experiences and expressions as well as (2) neurodivergent understandings of feminist – queer, trans and, more generally, intersectional – theory, organising and living. Submissions can concern neurodiversity – both neurodivergence and neurotypicality – in general terms or discuss specific neurodivergent groups (e.g. dyspraxics, ADHDers, Tourette(r)s).

Topics to be addressed might include, but are not limited by, the following:

  • Gendered norms in the theorisation of neurodiversity
  • Hegemonic cis/masculinity and the neurodiversity movement
  • A feminist history of neuroableism
  • The neurodiversification of intersectional theory
  • Feminist Global South perspectives on understanding neurodiversity
  • Queering neurodivergent time and space
  • Neurodivergent female entrepreneurship
  • A sensory exploration of gendered dance
  • The whiteness of research on neurodivergent boys
  • Decolonising the neuronormativity of Modern Man
  • Neurodivergent mothering & mothering neurodivergence
  • Gender, neurodiversity and social media activism
  • The gendered neuroableism of linearity
  • Intersectional neuronormativity in mental health therapy
  • The pathologisation of neurodivergent women
  • Transphobia in the name of protecting neurodivergent children
  • Neurotypical cis/gender representations in literature
  • Intersectional understandings of the criminalisation of neurodivergence
  • The pedagogy of neuroableism and sexism
  • Neurodiversifying feminist research methods

This is a neurodivergent-led webinar, and neurodivergent graduate students and scholars, neurodivergent activists and community-members, as well as others presenting from marginalised perspectives, are particularly encouraged to submit an abstract.

We accept live presentations as well as pre-recorded presentations (12-15min). For the purpose of making the webinar most accessible, you will be required to submit your presentation (pre-recorded or slides & transcript) two days before the webinar takes place. There will be an option to record your presentation so that it will be available online afterwards. After acceptance, you will receive guidelines on how to make your presentation most accessible. We will also adjust the organisation of the webinar as much as possible to your access needs.

Submission details:

  • Information to include in your abstract:
    • Name and contact details
    • Presentation title
    • Summary of argument
    • Presentation type: live presentation or pre-recorded presentation
    • Department & university, organisation and/or community
    • Time zone
    • Do you want your presentation recorded and made available online: yes/no
  • Written abstract length: 150-200 words
  • Spoken abstract length: 2-3min
  • Submission deadline for abstract: 16 Nov 2020, 11.59pm UK time
  • Coordination: Dr Dyi Huijg (Neurodiversity Reading Group London)
  • Email your abstract to: drddhuijg AT gmail.com

After submission:

  • Decision on abstracts: by 30 Nov 2020
  • Communicate your access needs with the FSA on: contact AT the-fsa.co.uk
  • You will receive access guidelines from the FSA to make your presentation and the webinar most accessible
  • Submission deadline recording and/or slides and transcript: 27 Jan 2021, 11.59pm UK time

Further information:


Zoom seminar invitation

Open invitation from Stockholm University:
Greetings! Welcome to our first Zoom meeting of the Disability Studies Research Seminar. It will be held on May 7 at 10:00 to 11:30. We look forward to being able to discuss the following topic:
Responses to Covid-19 and disability: re-thinking vulnerability.
We will focus our seminar on three blog posts, two of which center on the issue here in Sweden and a third from the Official Blog of IJFAB: the International Journal of Feminist Approaches to Bioethics written by Jackie Leach Scully. (She also wrote a book chapter on understandings of vulnerability which are highly relevant to the discussion. See below for further reading.)
Extra reading:
Scully, J. L. (2014). Disability and vulnerability: On bodies, dependence, and power. Vulnerability: New essays in ethics and feminist philosophy, 204-21.
Liz, Simo, Marie-Louise, Helén
P.S. The seminar is conducted in English and is open to researchers, PhD candidates and masters students interested in the area of Disability Studies both within and outside of the department. Feel free to forward this. If you wish to be taken off the list send me an email and I will take care of it.
Here is the Zoom link that you can use. I will open the room at 9:50 on May 7 so you can get situated.
Liz Adams Lyngbäck is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 453 040 4022
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Virtual CRIPOSIUM – call for submissions

Dear all

The KCL Disability + Intersectionality reading group are very happy to announce that we will be running a virtual CRIPOSIUM this June (6th & 13th) in collaboration with SOAS Crip Feminist reading group.

The Criposium is a two-day virtual symposium and exhibition on disability, intersectionality, and all things crip. It is open to all, including students, staff, PGR/ECR, artists, activists, advocates, and allies.
As well as traditional paper presentations, we are also opening a call for creative submissions such as poetry, art, doodles, photoessays etc. Creative submissions will be shared on the website gallery and the event Instagram page.
If you’ve had to cancel conferences this year due to the coronavirus, we would love to hear from you, please send us your abstracts. Or if you’ve been spending your time in lockdown writing poetry or creating art, please also share them with us!
Please see http://criposium.wordpress.com for details on submissions and access. Also share and follow us on Twitter @criposium and IG @criposium
If you are interested in helping out with the conference (as a moderator or editor) please get in touch, we would really appreciate the help.
Thanks and stay safe!
Christina, Manishta, Molly, and Mel

Important Information!

Hello everyone!

In light of the COVID-19 situation, and the likelihood that as a country we will move towards further more stringent measures about social gatherings over the next few weeks, I have taken the decision to cancel the remaining DRF sessions for this academic year.

I really hope that you all stay safe, and take whatever measures are needed for you and your families and I hope that this is one less thing you now need to make a decision about attending.

I hope to have sessions running again next academic year and will post on the blog as soon as things are arranged for this. Please do let me know if you would like to present in 2020/2021.

Best wishes and stay safe



DRF Session – Monday, 10th February

Monday, 10th February

Time: 2-4pm

Place: Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus. Charles Street Building, Room 12.5.07 (This is on the fifth floor), Howard Street, S1 1WB.

Speaker 1: Manny Madriaga 

Title: Deconstructing with DisCRT: Marking whiteness and ableism in the English higher education outreach gospel


Employing a DisCRT theoretical framework (Annamma 2017), this paper highlights the intermingling of whiteness and ableism in marginalizing students of color in accessing English higher education. It has already been evidenced that students of color who aspire to pursue higher education in England have constrained choices (Reay et al. 2001; Ball et al. 2002). Literature has shown that student applicants of color are not as likely as white applicants to gain entrance into prestigious higher education institutions, like the universities of Oxford and Cambridge (Boliver 2013). As of yet, there has been no meaningful sector engagement or Government response to this issue. This paper sketches this out, drawing out evidence and themes from a deconstructed reading (Slee and Allan 2001) of a sample of statutory university policy documents required by each higher education institution in England.

This paper will shed light on how notions of social justice and equity have been deracialized and neutralized (Solórzano and Yosso 2002), reproducing ableism and normalcy (Davis 1995; Erevelles and Minear 2010; Annamma et al. 2013), in English higher education outreach policy and practice. Questions that have informed this work are: (1) How race and disability are considered and recognised in English university access policy texts? (2) What has been the extent of universities pushing for race-specific initiatives within these texts? (3) How much of an attempt, if any, were universities attempting to reach out to students of color and their communities in these texts? With race at the forefront of discussion, this paper confirms that English higher education conspires (Gillborn 2006) to sustain white supremacy.


Annamma, S. (2017) Cartographies of Inequity. In Morrison, D., Annamma, S., & Jackson, D. (Eds). Critical Race Spatial Analysis: Mapping to Understand and Address Educational Inequity. Virginia: Stylus, 32-50.

Annamma, S. A., D. Connor and B. Ferri (2013) Dis/ability critical race studies (DisCrit): theorizing at the intersections of race and dis/ability, Race Ethnicity and Education, 16(1): 1-31.

Ball, Stephen J., D. Reay and M. David (2002) ‘Ethnic Choosing’: Minority ethnic students, social class and higher education choice. Race Ethnicity and Education 5 (4): 333-357.

Boliver, V. (2013) How fair is access to more prestigious UK universities. British Journal of Sociology 64 (2): 344-364.

Davis, L. 1995. Enforcing normalcy: Disability, deafness and the body, London: Verso.

Erevelles, N. and A. Minear. (2010) Unspeakable Offenses: Untangling Race and Disability in Discourses of Intersectionality. Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies 4 (2): 127–146.

Reay, D., J. Davies, M. David, and S.J. Ball (2001) Choices of Degree or Degrees of Choice? Class, ‘Race’ and the Higher Education Choice Process. Sociology 35 (4): 855-874.

Slee, R., and J. Allan. 2001. Excluding the included: A reconsideration of inclusive education. International Studies in Sociology of Education 11 (2) (07/01): 173-92.

Solórzano, D. G., and T. J. Yosso. 2002. Critical race methodology: Counter-storytelling as an analytical framework for education research. Qualitative Inquiry 8 (1) (02/01; 2017/04): 23-44

Speaker 2: Stephen Connolly

Title: Should we drop the label of ‘vulnerable’ in ethics applications?

Abstract: TBC


Last call

Hi Everyone

If you would like to present at the DRF on January 30th (10am-12pm), please get in touch by the end of the day on Thursday (23rd). Both slots are still available. If there are no takers for this session it will be cancelled and we will go ahead with the session in Feb.

Please see here for details of which dates and times are still available if you would like to present!



New DRF Sessions – Please get in touch if you’d like to present!

Hi Everyone!

Here are the seminar sessions for the DRF from January to May. We will then break for the Summer and be back in October.

Please do get in touch (s.r.hannam-swain@shu.ac.uk) if you would like to present at any of these sessions and please check out our accessible presentation guidelines.

Thursday 30th January (subject to people signing up as it’s short notice), 10am-noon

Monday 10th February, 2-4pm

Tuesday 10th March, 2-4pm

Monday 30th March, 2-4pm

Thursday 7th May, Noon-2pm

Hope to see you there!



BSA Early Career Forum Regional Event -Design and Undertaking Participatory Research: Practical Issues, Successes and Challenges

You are warmly invited to a BSA Early Career Forum Regional Event to be held at Sheffield Hallam University.

Design and Undertaking Participatory Research: Practical Issues, Successes and Challenges Tuesday 7th April 2020, Sheffield Hallam University.

This one-day workshop will bring together researchers doing social research, working with or interested in participatory research approaches. The event will include: presentations with Q&A; lunch and refreshments (included); and a round table discussion to network and share ideas.

Call for Papers: You are invited to submit an abstract (max 200 words) for a 15-minute presentation on your research. Presentations are sought on the following themes:

  • Designing participatory research. 
  • Different methodological approaches to participatory research and innovative methods.
  • Experiences of using participatory research methods, and the successes and challenges of doing so. 
  • Facilitating participation and co-productive working at different stages of the research process (e.g. recruitment, analysis or dissemination etc). 
  • The practicalities of doing participatory research and reflexive thoughts.
  • Participatory research and ethical considerations.
  • Participatory research, politics and activism. 
  • Negotiating participatory research within academic frameworks (e.g. A PhD, gaining ethical approval, publishing etc)
  • Developing research grants for participatory research.

Please submit abstracts by: Friday 31st January 2020. Bursaries of up to £50 are available to cover travel expenses for presenters. 

To book: https://www.britsoc.co.uk/events/key-bsa-events/bsa-early-career-forum-regional-event-designing-and-undertaking-participatory-research-practical-issues-successes-and-challenges/

Please see poster for full details.

Organised by Ruth Beresford, for further information or to submit an abstract please contact: r.e.beresford@shu.ac.uk


Thursday, 12th December

Time: 2 – 4pm

Place: Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus. Charles Street Building, Room 12.2.19 (This is on the second floor), Howard Street, S1 1WB.

Speaker 1: Sam Fellows

Title: “Why symptom-based approaches are not enough: the value of psychiatric diagnoses”


Critics are concerned that psychiatric diagnoses fail to accurately describe patients and therefore should be abandoned. Most patients do not have all symptoms associated with their diagnosis and most patients have symptoms which are not associated with their diagnosis. Knowing someone has a diagnosis seems to convey much less useful information compared to knowing what symptoms someone has. This situation has lead critics of psychiatric diagnosis to claim diagnoses make no contributions to understanding individuals, they are harmful distractions and should be abandoned (e.g. Timini, Gardner & McCabe 2011). Psychiatrists should instead establish what symptoms an individual has rather than give them a diagnosis. In this paper I will employ Ronald Giere’s account of scientific theories to show that those critics are mistaken to see psychiatric diagnosis as making no useful contribution.

Giere describes how scientific theories are abstract generalisations which lack specific detail. For example, Newton’s laws, by themselves, make no claims about the world. Rather, they guide the building of more specific models and these specific models can be used to make claims about the world. He describe scientific theories as “recipes for constructing models” (Giere 1994, p.293). This notion of scientific theories as recipes which guide the building of less abstract models has not yet been applied to psychiatric diagnoses.

Psychiatric diagnoses should be seen as recipes for constructing models of people. I argue they guide the construction of models of people, making contributions to understanding individuals which are absent when simply focusing upon what symptoms are being presented by specific individuals. Firstly, many symptoms can be subtle and difficult to spot. A patient may be unaware of the symptom and psychiatrists cannot practically investigate for every possible symptom. Psychiatric diagnoses can help guide investigation of symptoms. If an individual exhibits a few symptoms of a psychiatric diagnosis then there is reason to investigate for other symptoms of that psychiatric diagnosis. For instance, if an individual exhibits low social skills and low eye contact, both of which are symptoms of autism, then there is reason to investigate for other symptoms of autism. This may help spot subtle symptoms such as rigid thinking or difficulty accommodating to changes. Thus the diagnosis guides investigating for the presence of symptoms. Secondly, patients fluctuate in the symptoms they present over time. The symptoms which are presented to a psychiatrist at time of interview may not cover symptoms previously exhibited or those exhibited in the future. However, knowing the individual has a diagnosis which is associated with a range of symptoms, more than any one diagnosed person actually exhibits, guides awareness towards a range of possible symptoms not present in a diagnosed person at one specific time. The diagnosis guides awareness towards alternative symptoms that may present at other times within diagnosed individuals. Thirdly, symptoms themselves have a level of generality and may manifest in quite different ways. For example, the low social skills of autistic individuals are typically quite different to the low social skills of schizophrenic individuals. Thus knowing the diagnosis of an individual can lead to greater understanding of how specific symptoms manifest. The diagnosis guides building more realistic models of ways individuals manifest symptoms.

By framing psychiatric diagnosis in terms of Giere’s account of scientific theories I have shown how psychiatric diagnosis make a contribution to understanding individuals. Thus critics of psychiatric diagnosis are mistaken to believe psychiatric diagnosis make no contribution and are mistaken to believe they should be abandoned.


Giere, Ronald, N. (1994). The Cognitive Structure of Scientific Theories. Philosophy of Science, 61/2, 276-296.

Timini, Sami., Gardner, Niel. & McCabe, Bain. (2011). The Myth of Autism (Palgrave-McMillian).

Speaker 2: Richard Woods

Title: Is the concept of Demand Avoidance Phenomena (Pathological Demand Avoidance) real or mythical?


This talk presents results of a content analysis of the diagnostic and screening tools for the proposed autism subtype Demand Avoidance Phenomena (DAP, commonly called Pathological Demand Avoidance), investigating if the construct has specificity. There is much growing interest in DAP and despite the lack of supporting evidence, some expect it to be included in England’s coming Autism Strategy. Specificity is when a trait is unique to a particular subject. I replicated a similar content analysis conducted by Nick Chown on tools for Broader Autism Phenotype and Autistic Traits. His results suggest that those constructs lacked specificity and are reified constructs. It is frequently argued in the DAP literature that it lacks specificity, by replicating Nick Chown’s study; I am attempting to falsify this viewpoint. I will present my full results at the talk. My preliminary analysis of the main 2 tools for DAP, the Extreme Demand Avoidance-Questionnaire and 11 items on the Diagnostic Interview for Social and Communication Disorders, support the common notion that DAP lacks specificity. These results would indicate how seriously DAP should be taken and if it should additionally be diagnosed in non-autistic persons.