Book Talk: Spaces on the Spectrum

Apr. 26, 2024, 5:00 p.m.

Vassar Library, Class of 1951 Reading Room with reception to follow at Alumnae House, 6:30–8:30 p.m.

Catherine Tan, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Vassar College, will be sharing her book, Spaces on the Spectrum: How Autism Movements Resist Experts and Create Knowledge.

Movements that take issue with conventional understandings of autism spectrum disorder, a developmental disability, have become increasingly visible. Drawing on more than three years of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews with participants, Catherine Tan investigates two autism-focused movements, shedding new light on how members contest expert authority. Examining their separate struggles to gain legitimacy and represent autistic people, she develops a new account of the importance of social movements as spaces for constructing knowledge that aims to challenge dominant frameworks. Spaces on the Spectrum offers timely insights into the roles of shared identity and communal networks in movements that question scientific and medical authority.

Sponsored by the office of the Dean of Faculty, the English Department, Sociology Department, Africana Studies Program, and Science, Technology, and Society Program.

Portrait headshot, person with dark hair and brown eyes faces the camera
Catherine Tan
Photo courtesy of the subject
Book cover with title.