Michele Pridmore-Brown, 21 March 2019
Why is ‘Asperger’s syndrome’ such a part of our lexicon? Why did its use take off in the mid-1990s? One reason is that Asperger’s thesis was translated into English by Uta Frith in 1991, without its Nazi intellectual frame (the preface); Frith also avoided his term ‘autistic psychopathy’, translating it simply as ‘autism,’ an act of linguistic de-Nazification. But there’s more to it than that. Edith Sheffer is clear: autism in its severe forms is about underlying biology; but what we now call Asperger’s syndrome is a cultural artefact.