We launched Autistic PhD three months ago, on May 20, 2023. These first three months have been a lot of fun overall, and have led to some interesting interactions, both personally and professionally. We’ve seen 2500 click-throughs from Google Search Results from the last 28 days alone (this is a pretty cool accomplishment for a brand new website, btw).
Autistic PhD has been cited as a resource in an academic conference (also cool). And one of our social media channels is growing into a friendly community, and I’ve even met up with some followers on our recent cross country drive (which was awesome).
Call for Authors
This is more informal than I’d prefer, but perhaps that is perfect given our style here. I’m placing this section up top so that this post can be shared with prospective contributors and they will bump into this section before the rest. If not applicable to you, feel free to jump to the next section in this update.
When I began Autistic PhD I never intended to be the solo voice. I had two other authors but life came up for them both, and they are unable to contribute as we had hoped. They are welcome to return whenever their circumstances allow.
It is so important that the articles we share not be written in just one voice, from just one perspective. In particular, my social location is that of a 49 year old, White U.S. national, non-binary person who is disabled and queer and middle class by income. We would value contributions from others whose social location differs, and we would prioritize authors from historically minoritized groups.
The preferred style of writing for Autistic PhD long form articles is accessible and readable, with frequent use of first person narrative, while substantive content being appropriately cited with quality references. Our target readership spans from the typical academic, who values a solid reference list, to the newly diagnosed autistic adult who wants information they can trust for accuracy but will prioritize readability and does not want something that reads like academic journals typically read.
For the prospective author, please review several long form articles on the Autistic PhD website to get a sense of this “happy mashup” among readability, personal narrative, and grounding in the literature. We want your story and your voice to be central in your writing here, while you also use it to teach concepts and to write persuasively with authority.
The prospective author should have a PhD in the social sciences, broadly defined. PhD candidates are also welcome. This isn’t to be gate-keeping or to say that other forms of knowledge are not valuable. They are. It’s just that the Autistic PhD website has this baseline, coupled with the goal of having autistics with doctorates be a source of information to support neurodivergent-affirming work, activism, scholarship, political actions, and people.
The prospective author should also be autistic unless we have some discussion about how closely you are allied, and whether an exception might make sense. An exception is possible.
The prospective author should love what we’re already doing here, and want to be a part of it! If that is you, please contact us and describe your interest in writing for Autistic PhD. We’ll respond to everyone who expresses interest.
Erika’s Research Update
I presented a piece of my dissertation research at the Population Association of America’s 2023 Conference in New Orleans earlier this year. My topic was, “Disabled Development: Where are Disabled Women amid the Sustainable Development Agenda in Costa Rica?” I am working on the rest of my research and loving it. If interested, the next chapter extends my Costa Rica study into the Caribbean region comparatively. And the third empirical chapter is a Caribbean analysis of both well-being and multidimensional poverty, using disability disaggregated data. The analysis part is easy for me and fun.
Although I completed my doctoral preliminary exams way, way ahead of schedule, I then fell behind earlier this year. Mostly that falling behind has been because of acute physical health problems that began in September 2022, and which are still being diagnosed. We know that I have gastroparesis, and moderate malnutrition as a result. And that’s not been great, plus there’s something else that’s a mystery at the time of this writing.
As for how my autistic brain is doing with PhD work in a top PhD program, I’d invite you to read the recent Autistic PhD article on top-down versus bottom-up thinking, inspired by my dissertation frustrations.
Cross Country Accessible Travel
My wife, Rachael, and I converted an old shuttle bus into an RV in order to have accessible travel, and it has opened the world to us and allowed us to travel for work and for vacation. It let me get to PAA to present at the conference, and I’m writing this newsletter to you from Cape Cod, a place that both Rachael and I think of as heaven.
Accessible travel is invaluable anyway. For example, while driving across the country last week, I got a migraine. What did we do? Pulled into the next rest stop. I mean, we’re driving around with a whole house – bedroom, kitchen, bathroom, the works. So we pull over, and I can go to bed and do what I need to do, and so can the wife and dog traveling with me. I’m grateful for the access this old bus provides.
The featured image on top of this post is from the porch of my lifelong friends who hosted us while we were in Lowell, MA, US. That’s where we got to invite other dear friends to stop in and visit while in the area. I’m feeling restored and very loved and grateful.
My Hope for the Next Update
My hope for the next time there is a newsletter going out is that I will be able to introduce you to at least one new author! And, if there is progress on either my personal health or my research, I will include that too.