Nalini Asha Biggs

Nalini Biggs

Research Interests

            How do Autistic teens and young adults come to understand themselves in relation to popular media? How has this subject position evolved from an era where Autism was solely understood as a medical diagnoses and disability to one that the neurodiversity movement practices as a celebrated identity, often self-diagnosed? Through the practices of diagnosis, individuals come to inhabit and are inhabited by a subject-position of Autism that signifies and mediates their daily interactions in a “neurotypical” world. These diagnostic practices, however, have evolved over time, and initial results of my research show that these practices are often influenced by portrayals of Autistically-coded characters in popular television shows and films such as The Big Bang Theory, Community, and Star Trek. While much of the literature on Autistic identity and media remains primarily interpretive, this study offers insight into how Autistic teens and adults themselves understand these characters and their impact on wider societal understandings of Autism. This study situates the practices of self-diagnosis within wider structures such as medicine, education, and mass media, and the dynamic and material accounts of Autism at the local level. This interdisciplinary study incorporates theoretical, historical, and interpretive methods in conjunction with empirical data collection in order to explore the boundaries of the Autistic subject while simultaneously engaging in neurodiversity advocacy through the privileging of Autistic voices. 

My personal website is at: https://sites.google.com/site/naliniasha/

You may reach me at NBIGGS [at] UCSD [dot] EDU

Education

M.Litt. Education (2014), University of Oxford, St. Antony’s College

M.A. Special Education, Moderate/Severe (2008), San Diego State University San Diego      

M.Ed. International Education (2008) University of Sydney

B.A. Literature/Writing (2005), University of California, San Diego

Publications

2014

(Editor) Education and Disability: Education as a humanitarian response. London: Bloomsbury.

2014

‘Hunger in America’s “breadbasket”: Wellness, food-insecurity and education in California. In: L. Symaco (Ed.), Education, malnutrition and famine: Education as a humanitarian response. London: Continuum Books.

2013

‘Deaf students,’ In: J. Ainsworth (Ed.), Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

2013

 ‘Diseases and education, worldwide,’ In: J. Ainsworth (Ed.), Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

2013

 ‘Kenya,’ In: J. Ainsworth (Ed.), Sociology of Education: An A-to-Z Guide. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications.

2012

 ‘Monthly Thematic Blog.’ The Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs. http://www.g3ict.org

2012

(Editor) Education and HIV/AIDS: Education as a humanitarian response. London: Continuum Books.

Presentations

2011

HIV/AIDS education in Kenyan schools for the deaf: The role of teachers’ beliefs and attitudes. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Centre for AIDS Research at Oxford (CAIRO), Wolfson College, Oxford, U.K.

2011

Disability matters. Presentation at the Inaugural meeting of the Oxford Centre for Interdisciplinary Disability Studies, St. Antony’s College, Oxford, U.K.

2010

Adapting HIV/AIDS education for the Deaf in developing countries. Presentation at the annual meeting of the International AIDS Society, Vienna, Austria.

2010

HIV/AIDS education and people with disabilities: ‘What works?’ Presentation at the OxHub Series, Exeter College, Oxford, U.K.

2010

Sexual violence and women with disabilities in sub-Saharan Africa. Presentation at the Queen Elizabeth House Beyond Peace Seminar Series, Oxford, U.K.

2010

Issues in education and disability in developing countries. Presentation at the annual Department of Education STORIES Conference, Oxford, U.K.

2010

Gender, Development and HIV/AIDS. Seminar in the Department of Education, International and Comparative Education Series, Oxford, U.K.

2009

Challenges in HIV/AIDS and disability research. Presentation at the annual meeting of the Centre for AIDS Research at Oxford (CAIRO), Wolfson College, Oxford, U.K.

2009

HIV/AIDS and children with disabilities. Presentation at the OxHub/UNICEF Oxford Series, Oxford Union, Oxford, U.K.

2007

HIV/AIDS education and disability in Jamaica. Round table seminar presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES), Columbia University, New York.

Activities

Journal of International and Comparative Education (JICE): Editor and board member. Centre for Research in International and Comparative Education at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur.

Oxford Centre for Interdisciplinary Disability Research (OxCIDR): Founder and Chair. Oxford, U.K.

The Global Initiate for Inclusive ICTs: Monthly Thematic Blogger.

Awards

2013 San Diego Fellowship, University of California, San Diego, Department of Communication
2010, Carl Stahl Travel Grant, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
2007-2008, California State University Pre-Doctoral Scholarship, SDSU
2005-2006, Sinegal Scholarship, SDSU
2005-2006, Urban Scholarship, SDSU         
2004, Artsbridge Scholar, UCSD
2003, McNair Scholar, UCSD

PhD. Students