Neurodiversity in Literature will investigate how neurotypical and neurodiverse (or neurodivergent) authors depict and discuss neurodiversity. This course will give special emphasis to two Japanese authors: Nobel Prize-winner Oe Kenzaburô, who has treated the subject of a disabled/neurodiverse child extensively in his work, and Higashida Naoki, whose autobiographical work, The Reason Why I Jump, generated considerable international attention (and controversy) following the release of its English translation in 2013.
Course material covers both fiction and non-fiction, and also includes work by Steve Silberman, Temple Grandin, Oliver Sacks, Roy Richard Grinker, Donna Williams, Clara Claiborne Park, Andrew Solomon, and former Talking Heads front-man David Byrne. The course will be reading-intensive. Through the course, students will develop a more nuanced understanding of neurodiverse identity, the personal and societal challenges faced by this community, and how these topics are represented in literature.