CFP: The Nature and Phenomenology of Neurodivergence

Submission deadline: February 15, 2023

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The Nature and Phenomenology of Neurodivergence

The 4th Biennial Conference of the Network for Phenomenological Research

Call for Abstracts

Date: June 1-2, 2023

Place: Department of Humanities, Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona.

The workshop takes place in person, but all talks will be streamed online. More information about the conference will be available here.  

Organisers: Marta Jorba (Pompeu Fabra University), Alessandro Salice (University College Cork). 

Abstract submission. We welcome submissions that include a short abstract of 150 words and an extended abstract of around 1.000 words by January 30, 2023, to be sent to [email protected] and [email protected] There is a limited number of available slots for selected presentations in the workshop. Selected papers will be considered for publication in a Special Issue on an academic journal of relevance to the interdisciplinary perspective of the workshop.

Rationale. Neurodivergence and its various manifestations have attracted a significant amount of interest both in philosophy and in the empirical and clinical sciences of the mind fostering new research on the autistic spectrum, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, etc. Despite this sustained, and actually ever-growing interest in the scientific community, a large number of issues remain in need of clarification and demand urgent attention. The Nature and Phenomenology of Neurodivergence is a two-day conference that aims at shedding light mainly on the nature and phenomenology of the neurodivergent mind broadly construed, although a main focus of the conference will be on the autistic spectrum and its nosological characteristics and boundaries, e.g., in relation to the schizophrenia spectrum.

Some questions the workshop aims at addressing are: How is heterogeneity to be conceived within the autistic and the schizophrenia spectrum? How should the presence of psychotic symptoms in autism be interpreted? What is the relation between autism and personality disorders like, e.g., schizotypal disorder? What is the relation between autism and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)? How does the gender dimension impact diagnosis? How are experiences and symptoms in these conditions related to the medical and social models of mental health and what are their implications for neurodiversity movements?

The workshop will bring together national and international scholars from different disciplines, including philosophypsychologypsychiatrygender and disability studies, and artists, and welcomes contributions from mental health researchers and practitioners more generally. We encourage submissions promoting a phenomenological perspective that becomes evident in the systematic approach of the investigation or in its historical underpinning. Contributions on the concepts of mental health/illness, normality, neurodiversity, and neurodivergence are welcome, and possible topics of interest include but are not limited to: inner speech, delusions, hallucinations, thought-insertion, affective processes, non-typical rationality, disturbances in social experiences (e.g. social cognition and shared intentionality), camouflaging, repetitive behaviors, rigidity, and the way in which these symptoms manifest themselves in various mental conditions.

Participants of the workshop are invited to attend an artistic performance by one of our invited speakers, Jody O’Neill, and to engage in an open discussion with the artist on how neurodivergence can be reflected upon from—and reflect on—the artistic perspective. 

Invited speakers 

Robert Chapman: Senior Lecturer in Autism and Education at Sheffield Hallam, UK. They are a philosopher interested in psychiatry, neurodiversity, disability, medical humanities, social epistemology, critical theory. They are currently working on a book provisionally titled Neurodiversity and Capitalism: the history of normality and the politics of mental health.

Sofia Jeppsson: Associate professor of philosophy at Umeå University, Sweden. Her research focuses on free will, moral responsibility, rationality, respect, and the philosophy of psychiatry. Her interest in the philosophy of psychiatry has grown partly from her previous research, partly from her own experiences of psychosis.

Mads G. Henriksen: Associate Professor in Philosophy of Psychiatry, Center for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen, and Senior Researcher, Mental Health Centre Amager, University Hospital of Copenhagen, Denmark. His research mainly focuses on phenomenological psychopathology, with an emphasis on schizophrenia and self-disorders, and on classical phenomenological philosophy.

Jody O’Neill: autistic artist, producer, and disability advocate, based in Dublin, Ireland. She has spent the past five years researching and developing making inclusive theatre that promotes acceptance and social change. Her play What I (Don’t) Know About Autism received the WGI Zebbie Award for Best Theatre Script in 2021. She is currently Theatre Artist-in-Residence at University College Cork and Cork Opera House and received a 2022 Markievicz Award from the Arts Council of Ireland to examine the role of cis women and gender-diverse women in disability activism since the foundation of the Irish State.

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