Autistics Musicking: Dialogues toward an Ethnomusicological Pheonomenology of Neurodivergence

Autistic first-person narratives of self-understanding and empowerment through musical experience (“musicking”) can help undermine the social stigma of spectrum-diagnosis. They also build an understanding of neurodivergent contributions to culture and the importance of acknowledging neurodiversity in the study of cognition and phenomenology.


– Understand the concept of “musicking” (as theorized by musicologist Christopher Small) as a web of social activities that shapes culture.

– Review the connected notions of neurodiversity and neurodivergence (as articulated by activists in the Autistic community) within the social definition of disability.

– Learn about the varied musicking experiences of several neurodivergent individuals (interviewed in the course of the co-presenters’ research) and the way those experiences have formed their identities as disabled people.

– Discuss the significance of specifically neurodivergent musicking approaches to the broader shaping of culture.

Andrew Dell’Antonio, Elizabeth J. Grace