Current Call for Submissions

Critical Autism Studies
Deadline: September 15, 2023

The term Critical Autism Studies (CAS) has in the past decade come to define an interdisciplinary approach to researching and theorizing autism in a variety of social and cultural settings. As Woods et al. note (2016), the defining actions of CAS include challenging a deficit-based medical model of autism; examining how cultural norms and social institutions continue to define what autism is, if not to construct it entirely; and creating emancipatory methodologies and practices that value autistic individuals and communities. As in any academic discipline, there is no shortage of disputes within CAS, including over the role of autistic scholars, its relationship to the broader neurodiversity movement, and perhaps most critically, the acceptance or rejection of the autism diagnosis itself, with some scholars claiming that the “critical” component of the label requires seeing autism entirely as a sociocultural construct.

This issue of Ought seeks to enter the conversation about this emergent field, seeking both scholarly manuscripts that attempt to further define the field and creative works that comment on or exemplify critical practices within CAS. Submissions might address some or all of the following questions:

  • What are the seminal texts and key scholars in CAS?
  • What role should neurotypicals and autistic scholars play in CAS?
  • Where does CAS exist in academic space, and where should it exist?
  • What does the critical in CAS entail?
  • What is the future of CAS?


Woods, R., Milton, D., Arnold, L., & Graby, S. (2018). Redefining critical autism studies: A more inclusive interpretation. Disability & Society, 33(6), 974-979.

Autistic Aesthetics
Deadline: March 15, 2024

Over the past four years, Ought has published a wide range of genres, from traditional academic research to experimental multimodal compositions. Each and every piece expresses some element of autistic culture(s). And at the core of all cultural communities is a specific sense of aesthetics.

Miriam Webster’s Dictionary defines aesthetics as a noun that conveys a “particular theory or conception of beauty or art: a particular taste for or approach to what is pleasing to the senses.” In issue 5.2, we would like to explore, challenge, and recognize the core, divergent aesthetics of autistic Submissions might address some or all of the following questions:

  • What is a divergent aesthetic? Why might the notion of autistic aesthetics be problematic?
  • How might autistic perspectives, sensory experiences, and lives express divergent notions of beauty? How might divergent forms of autistic communication and expression convey beauty?
  • Does autistic culture find beauty in ideals commonly dismissed by normative cultures?
  • How might autistic experiences of beauty expand upon traditional notions of beauty?
  • How might Universal Design strengthen notions of beauty?

To be clear, we do not aim to categorically define or even argue for a singular notion of autistic beauty. Rather, we hope to complicate and broaden notions of beauty, which we feel may strengthen the core of what constitutes autistic cultures. We hope to receive a wide range of submissions from a variety of backgrounds and in varying genres.