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Henry Darger, Human Headed Blengins, mid-twentieth century, watercolor, pencil, and carbon tracing on pieced paper, 48.3 x 61 cm, American Folk Art Museum, 2001.16.5 (photograph by James Prinz)

Henry Darger, Human Headed Blengins, mid-twentieth century, watercolor, pencil, and carbon tracing on pieced paper, 48.3 x 61 cm, American Folk Art Museum, 2001.16.5 (photograph by James Prinz)

Contexts in source publication

Context 1
... Darger form that appears in Wood's work is the serpentine figure in Antietam ( figure 7). Its reptilian body with a human head draws from Darger's mythical Blengin ( figure 8), a horned character that recurs through his body of work. ...
Context 2
... Lister's paintings mainly depicted the early days of gold mining at Hill End, though she also painted religious subjects, some of which she unsuccessfully entered in the Blake Prize for Religious Art in Sydney in the late 1950s. 39 Lister's Finding the Holtermann Nugget ( figure 8) is full of activity. Miners run towards a huge golden nugget, 40 which is being held by a man in the left centre of the composition. ...

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This is a translation of the introduction and conclusion of an in Dutch published book. Autism in Plural focuses on the contemporary proliferation and popularity of published self-narratives by people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. These self-narratives, also called “autie-biographies” or “autie-narratives”, are all concerned with the question: “what does autism mean for me as a subject?” This book therefore focuses on the way in which people deal with the label of autism spectrum disorders, rather than on the discussion of the nature or reality of the condition. In other words, the emphasis lies on what, following Alison Kafer (2013), can be called “autism as a set of practices”. This leads us to the question whether practice – the way of dealing with a label – can influence or have effects on the diagnostic category. Of course, there are many different ways in which people can deal with a diagnosis, but the sheer number and the popularity of autism self-narratives indicates that writing about one’s own experience is one way or strategy. The question that arises is where this urge to express the self comes from. Who or what triggers us to talk/write/draw/dance about our experience and ourselves? Writing and self-expression can be private matters, a therapeutic activity, but the act of writing (and self-expression in general) is not self-evident. The relation with language, communication and narrativity is for many reasons highly complex for people with autism. Apart from the practice of writing, this book also pays attention to the product that results from this practice of self-expression. When someone publishes a self-narrative, both off and online, she enters into the public sphere and the self-narrative becomes part of broader cultural phenomena, such as the memoir boom and the therapeutic self-help ethos. This entails that it must regarded in relation to existing narrative patterns, genres, a creative industry and an audience. This complex relation between writing practice and writing product is extremely interesting and leads to the following key question: How do autie-narratives function as cultural products and as subject-constituting practices that generate categories of identity, make them recognizable and reproducible on the one hand, and question, problematize and undermine them on the other hand.