We’re all strangers here

Gemma Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This piece forms part of my linguistic ethnographic doctoral thesis, investigating the ways in which mutual understanding does and does not break down between autistic and non-autistic people. As an autistic researcher researching autistic language use, it became increasingly apparent throughout my research that I could not separate myself and my ”insider perspective” from my work. Autoethnographic creative writing offers a way to reflect on my inter-relation with the subject matter as well as ”giving voice” to those [autistic people more generally] who are often overlooked. Autism is heterogeneous in its nature and autistic people are diverse in ways that popular conventions and stereotypes don’t often afford. In this piece I represent three very different characters—each autistic—to give some insight into the breadth of what ”autistic-ness” can be. The first character is based on myself, exploring the tensions found in being an autist within the academy. The two fictionalized characters are composites of my research participants, based on my ethnographic observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
JournalAnthropology and Humanism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jul 2020
EventAmerican Anthropological Association annual conference: Society of Humanistic Anthropology award ceremony invited speaker - Vancouver, Canada
Duration: 21 Nov 201925 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution‐NonCommercial‐NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non‐commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.


  • Autoethnography
  • AAA
  • Society for Humanistic Anthropology Creative Non-fiction prize
  • autism
  • loneliness
  • autoethnography
  • ethnographic fiction
  • empirical pragmatics


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