Immediations: The Humanitarian Impulse in Documentary
“Having a Voice”: Toward an Autistic Counterdiscourse of Documentary
This chapter critiques the logocentrism of the humanitarian notion of “giving voice to the voiceless” by placing autistic accounts of communication in conversation with critical theories of voice. The author argues that documentary tropes of persuasive speech are complicit in cultivating a “neurotypical” attunement to speech and language. The chapter examines how the first-person documentary voice-over distances, rather than enabling an immediate encounter with an autistic voice in three films involving autistic protagonists: “I Am Autism” (2010), an advocacy video by the humanitarian organization Autism Speaks; Autism Is a World (2004), a television documentary; and “In My Language” (2007), a...