Note For Anyone Writing About Me

Guide to Writing About Me

I am an Autistic person,not a person with autism. I am also not Aspergers. The diagnosis isn't even in the DSM anymore, and yes, I agree with the consolidation of all autistic spectrum stuff under one umbrella. I have other issues with the DSM.

I don't like Autism Speaks. I'm Disabled, not differently abled, and I am an Autistic activist. Self-advocate is true, but incomplete.

Citing My Posts

MLA: Zisk, Alyssa Hillary. "Post Title." Yes, That Too. Day Month Year of post. Web. Day Month Year of retrieval.

APA: Zisk, A. H. (Year Month Day of post.) Post Title. [Web log post]. Retrieved from

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

No Boundary Thinking Seminar Reflection 1

This semester, I'm took a seminar on no-boundary thinking. Which sounds like a fancy word for what I often try to do as a vaguely disability studies like person: focusing on defining an issue and addressing it from any methods that work and not worrying about (often not knowing) what fields those definitions or methods come from. (To my professor from the seminar: Congratulations, you found my blog.)

So here's my first reflection post. Bracketed things were not in the original reflection that I turned in, and have been added since.

[So, at the start, we need to know what no-boundary thinking is. It's kind of what it sounds like: we're going to ignore the lines between disciplines as much as possible.] Huang et. al. (2013) discusses no-boundary thinking as thinking where problems are defined without being limited to a single discipline or group of disciplines, while the knowledge used to define and solve the problem can come from a variety of disciplines. Dr. Brian Dewsbury mentions that no-boundary thinking doesn't necessarily mean bringing more people on to a team just to have them – just because a given discipline has some bearing on a problem, that does not mean we must have a person who specializes in the discipline on the core team. If we did, teams could become overly large and difficult to coordinate, because many disciplines will have information that relates to any given problem. Stakeholders are brought up, and a fellow student says she is reminded of participatory research.

There are connections here: in participatory research, the idea is that affected communities 1) deserve a voice in discussions of problems that affect them, and 2) have useful information related to solving those problems. However, there is a risk of having people just to have them in participatory research – depending on when community members are included the research process, they may have little input in defining research questions, may be left out of data analysis and interpretation, and may generally find themselves used as a sign of community input rather than an actual source of expertise or information. [As opposed to how we should be defining and leading this thing. If anyone's job is "source of expertise for getting the thing done but not really deciding what needs to be done" it should be the outside academics studying the community.]

This problem in participatory research resembles a similar problem in interdisciplinary research, where the input from any given discipline is limited to where the people running the project think that discipline belongs, rather than appearing everywhere it could be helpful throughout the project time line. In both cases, the problem is with boundaries, whether between identities (academic, policy maker, or community member) or between disciplines. The problem is also with the assumption that people fit into exactly one of these boxes – a scholar on fisheries whose family depends on fishing does not fit into precisely one position. When I do research related to disability, I don't either. [I'm Disabled. I'm Autistic. I'm also legitimately a Disability Studies scholar, and I'm starting to be a researcher in assistive technology.] In both participatory and interdisciplinary research, the no boundary idea that we should be defining and approaching problems in ways that are “not limited by disciplines, traditions, vocabularies, or even technologies” (Huang et. al. 2013, p. 2) would be helpful.

Work Cited
Huang, X., Bruce, B., Buchan, A., Congdon, C. B., Cramer, C. L., Jennings, S. F., ... & Moore, J. H. (2013). No-boundary thinking inbioinformatics research. BioData mining, 6(1), 1.

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