Theorizing Stuttering: Learning From African American Males Who Stutter

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Journal of Fluency Disorders
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Guest Editors
Dr. Antonio L. Ellis
College of Charleston
Adjunct Professor of Educational Foundations

Dr. Nicholas D. Hartlep
Illinois State University
Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations

This special themed issue will shed light on the experiences of African American males who are Speech and Language Impaired (SLI). Why are SLI experiences important to document, and how
does SLI fit with the aims of The Journal of Fluency Disorders? People who stutter (SLI) represent a small portion of our total population in the United States. According to the National
Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (2008), roughly three million Americans stutter and the majority of these are males. Furthermore, the National Stuttering Foundation reports that the number of males who stutter is about four times that of females. Out of the entire population of persons who stutter, one might suggest that African American men who stutter represent an even smaller portion, and often face both racial and communicative

Given that The Journal of Fluency Disorders is the official journal of the International Fluency Association, which is devoted to the understanding and management of fluency disorders, and
the improvement in the quality of life for persons with fluency disorders, it is a leading candidate for publishing SLI studies. Most fluency studies are geared towards speech therapy techniques.
Very few studies centers on the life experiences of African American males who stutter (e.g., see Daniels, Hagstrom, & Gabel, 2006).

Instead of repeating rhetoric regarding therapeutic techniques for people who stutter, such as breathing techniques, making eye contact, increased patience, and other remedies, which is often
ineffective, the peer-reviewed articles contained in this special themed issue will uncover the environmental, social, cultural, and educational experiences of African American males who
stutter. A preponderance of the literature written on stuttering reveals physical dimensions of speech. Meanwhile, little attention is given to the diverse communicative and cultural lives of
people who stutter. Quesal (1989), for example, writes about the need to “question the current focus” of stuttering research (p. 154). Below we offer some possible topics that authors may
consider as they write papers for this special issue.

Topics that will be considered for this special issue:
• How do speech and language impaired African Americans describe their
o Environmental;
o Social; and/or
o Educational experiences in educational environments?
• What coping strategies do African American males who stutter use in diverse settings?
• In what ways do African American males’ experiences with dysfluency shape their lives?
• How do African American males navigate through a fluency-dominant society?
• Why is studying the experiences of African American males who stutter important to
education and society?
• How do African Americans experience racism and discrimination as a result of being

General Timeline
• Open Call for Papers (Spring 2014)
• Begin Reviewing Submitted Papers (early Summer 2014)
• Notify Accepted Authors (late Summer 2014)
• Assemble the Special Issue (Fall 2014)
• Publish Special Issue (early Spring 2015)

Papers must be emailed to both guest editors at and


Daniels, D. E., Hagstrom, F., & Gabel, R. M. (2006). A qualitative study of how African
American men who stutter attribute meaning to identity and life choices, Journal of
Fluency Disorders, 31(3), 200-215

Ellis, A. L. (2012). African American males who stutter: Fighting out words, holding back tears.
Diverse Issues In Higher Education, 29(22), 17

Guitar, B. (2005). Stuttering: An integrated approach to its nature and treatment (3rd ed.).
Baltimore, MD: Williams and Watkins.

Hartlep, N. D., & Ellis, A. L. (2012). Rethinking speech and language impairments within
fluency dominated cultures. In S. Pinder (Ed.), American multicultural studies. Thousand
Oaks, CA: SAGE.

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NICID). (2010). Quick
stats for voice, speech, and language. [On-line]. Retrieved from

Quesal, R. W. (1989). Stuttering research: Have we forgotten the stutterer? Journal of Fluency
Disorders, 14, 153-164.

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