Olga Solomon joins IMFAR autism conference keynote panel
May 18, 2015
Assistant professor Olga Solomon was a keynote panel session speaker at the 2015 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The panel topic, “Autism and Society: Taking Stock of the History and Meaning of Autism Research,” asked the speakers to assess the field of autism research as a system of knowledge and practices within social, historical and economic contexts. The four-speaker panel explored various and sometimes contradictory aspects; for example, how the definition of autism has changed over time and the extents to which autism is a disease, disability and/or aspect of a ‘normal’ range of human variation.
Solomon’s presentation, “Emic and Etic Perspectives in the Construction of Authoritative Knowledge on Autism,” explored the tensions—based upon almost two decades of interdisciplinary ethnographic research—between the unique particularities of individual and family experiences of autism, and more generalized notions which frame those particularities as part of a broader pattern (for example, often-mentioned themes including “heterogeneity” and “elopement and wandering”).
The session was moderated by Dr. Roy Richard Grinker, professor and chair of anthropology at the George Washington University and editor-in-chief of Anthropological Quarterly.
IMFAR is the annual scientific meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about autism spectrum disorders. The meeting was attended by more than 1,500 guests from more than two dozen countries.