HopePunk and the Neuropolitics of Writing: Subverting Neuronormalizing Composition
Sara M. Acevedo, Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons, Rua Mae Williams
Date: April 26, 2023
The overwhelming majority of global North academic journals employ Eurocentric scientific writing conventions such as structural and organizational modularity, thematic and conceptual coherence, and the use of inductive or deductive logic as a justification for the reproduction of raced, gendered, and disabling gatekeeping practices in the research, review, and publication process. Within the “academic publishing industrial complex,” marginalized scholars face barriers, including inaccessible submission processes, reviewers and editors set on maintaining the status quo, and for-profit companies focused on monetary gain over the production and sharing of liberatory knowledge. Self-appointed scientism in this process situates white, cishet male-dominated intellectual traditions and scholarly neuromajorities as the gold standard of “publishable” academic writing.
Our proposed discussion draws from our experiences as neurocrip and mad scholars racing to prove ourselves “worthy” of a tenure-track appointment, particularly in the areas of research and publication. Our discussion adopts a collective ethnographic approach and is informed by the pressures and amount of labor expected of faculty of our rank, which compounds with the negative social mark of our intersecting identities (race, immigration, sexuality, and gender expression and identity). We discuss commonalities in our experiences as evidence of a neuronormalizing imperative in academic legitimacy and argue for valuing neurodivergent, cripqueer, and mad authorial voice as a valid art in meaning-making and communication. We ask questions about what it means to write coherently and logically and why the limiting authority of genre and convention should determine who gets to produce knowledge in the academy.
About the Speakers
Sara M. Acevedo
Dr. Sara María Acevedo is an Autistic Colombian-born scholar-activist and critical educator. Her research is committed to anti-colonial, anti-racist, and anti-ableist praxis, and is informed by transnational feminism, the study of subjugated knowledges, and posthumanism, among others. She is an Assistant Professor of disability studies at Miami University, where she advances Disability Justice in the classroom and across campus. Her work as an educator blends critical pedagogy, research, and activism, building on the knowledge of historically marginalized communities. Sara has received numerous recognitions for her community-based work and transnational contributions to the Neurodiversity Movement. She is currently leading a research project on neurodivergent culture, activism, and autonomous forms of governance funded by the Ford Foundation’s Disability Rights Program. Sara served a three-year term on the Board of Directors of the Society for Disability Studies.
Hailee Yoshizaki-Gibbons is an Assistant Professor in Biomedical Humanities at Hiram College. She received her Ph.D. in disability studies with a concentration in gender and women’s studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research employs an intersectional lens to examine the ways gender, race, class and immigration status mediate the lives of older and disabled people and those who care for them. Her current project analyzes how temporality influences the care relationships between elderly women with dementia and the immigrant women of color employed to care for them in dementia units of nursing homes.
Rua Mae Williams
Rua M. Williams is an Assistant Professor in the User Experience Design program at Purdue University and a Just Tech Fellow with the Social Science Research Council. They study interactions between technology design, computing research practices, and Disability Justice. Common approaches to technology and service design for marginalized people tend to naturalize existing inequities, exacerbating injustice even while they attempt to ameliorate it. Dr. Williams deploys Feminist and Anti-Racist approaches to Technoscience, Critical Disability Studies, and Science and Technology Studies in the design and evaluation of technological systems. Through their scholarship, they simultaneously illustrate injustice in technology as well as uplift marginalized users’ own practices of resistance through those same technologies.
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