Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers: Cultural, Clinical, and Creative Approaches to Dysfluent Speech
Call for Papers: Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies
Special Issue: Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers: Cultural, Clinical, and Creative Approaches to Dysfluent Speech
Co-editors: Daniel Martin and Maria Stuart
This special issue of the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies explores embodied experiences and cultural constructions of stammering from the interdisciplinary perspectives of literary and cultural analysis, speech therapy, neurological research, and creative practice.
Despite the centrality of literary and cultural studies to the emergence of Dysfluency Studies (Marc Shell, Stutter 2005; Chris Eagle Dysfluencies 2014), the 2017 Oxford Dysfluency Conference had no humanities-based papers. A recent conference at University College, Dublin ('Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers', 12 October 2018) sought to address this imbalance, bringing cultural analysis into genuine exchange with scientific and therapeutic practice, and negotiating the tension between a medical model of ‘recovery’ and an emergent challenge (across disciplines) to cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech.
This special issue draws upon and expands the parameters of that event, developing an interface between cultural, clinical, and creative practice in the area of speech ‘disorders,’ and generating new forms of communication and exchange across these fields. Although inviting a variety of disciplinary perspectives, underlying this diversity is a shared sense of dysfluency less as a ‘disorder’ to be treated (within an attendant pathologizing vocabulary) than a form of communication that highlights the intricate relationship between speaking and being heard, vocal agency and cultural reception, vocal expression and philosophical systems, voice and identity.
Of particular (and problematic) importance has been the cultural work performed by the metaphoric stammer as a sign of various conditions (both personal and collective) with little connection to actual dysfluency. Marc Shell first drew attention to the metaphoric appropriation of the stammer as a sign of multiple forms of ‘impediment’ – not only vocal, but social, psychological, intellectual and metaphysical – and the societal assumptions that underlie such usage (Shell, 2005). More recently, Daniel Martin has highlighted the way in which the ‘polymorphous metaphor of the stutter’ has ‘seduce[d] theorists from an awareness of the actual disability of developmental dysfluency’ towards ‘seductive descriptions of the “stuttering” rhythms of modern life, literature and aesthetics’ (Martin, 2015). Following such interventions, even work that remains engaged with Gilles Deleuze’s influential ‘articulation’ of the metaphorical stammer (‘He Stuttered’, 1998) needs to balance such usage with a sense of the corporeal experience of dysfluency (what Jay Dolmage has called ‘the embodied struggle for expression’ ), an experience historicised in Eagle’s exploration of the interaction between literary practice and speech pathology (2014). Issues of embodiment, performance and creative disruption to normative speech have been the focus of work by Christof Migone (2012), Brandon LaBelle (2014), and Steven Connor (2014), while Joshua St. Pierre has explored the challenge posed by the dysfluent body to a post-capitalist economics of labour, communication and temporal ‘efficiency’ (2013).
In terms of clinical practice, the embodied experience of dysfluency has (in various forms) been at the core of therapeutic work. Recent innovations in clinical practice have moved away from concepts of recovery based on fluency towards models of collaboration in which ‘therapy’ is premised on exchange and interaction between therapist and client rather than hierarchies of expertise. Within such collaborative environments, both Narrative Therapy and Acceptance/Non-Avoidance therapies have emerged as transformative structures that draw upon aspects of cultural and creative practice to rewrite the terms of the clinical encounter and its ‘outcomes.’
This renewed focus on embodiment invites diverse, interdisciplinary approaches that accentuate the embodied experience of stammering in its therapeutic, cultural and creative forms. Proposals are welcomed for submissions in (but not limited to) the following areas:
- Narrative therapy (in clinical, cultural, or creative practice)
- Normative speech and counter voices of dysfluency
- Rethinking ‘recovery’
- Gender and dysfluency (the gendered experience and/or representation of dysfluency)
- Ethnicity and the speech 'disorder'
- 'Histories' of dysfluency
- Literary embodiment
- Contemporary creative practice: expressive dysfluency
- 'Assistive' technology and vocal agency
- Mapping the brain: neurological perspectives
- Visualising dysfluency
- The cinematic voice
Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be emailed by 16 September 2019 to Maria Stuart (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Daniel Martin (email@example.com). Successful authors will be invited to submit either a 5000-8000 word article or a ‘Voicing’ to the editors by 12 December 2019. Practitioner-scholars who work in the areas outlined in the CfP are invited to contribute to the ‘Voicings’ section of the journal, which offers a platform for experimentation with non-conventional forms of dissemination, such as:
- Practitioners’ reflections
- Vocal scores and transcripts of music/sound/audio/multimedia artworks
- Annotated interviews
- Photographic essays
- Excerpts of rehearsals, workshops, performances
- Voice essays and blog-style contributions
- Academic discussions of voice in the form of poetic scripts, libretti, mini lexicons, ethnographic notes
- Voice-related documents and archives
Please visit http://www.intellectbooks.co.uk/journals/view-Journal,id=248/ for more information on the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies and for Notes for Contributors:
Daniel Martin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. His work on Victorian literature and culture has appeared in The Journal of Victorian Culture, Victorian Review, Victorian Literature and Culture, and Blackwell’s Companion to Sensation Fiction. He has a forthcoming chapter on nineteenth-century dysfluencies in Bloomsbury’s A Cultural History of Disability series.
Maria Stuart is an Assistant Professor in the School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing at University College Dublin, where she teaches nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature. She is co-editor of The International Reception of Emily Dickinson and Ireland, Slavery, Anti-Slavery and Empire. She has published on the dysfluent poetics of Emerson and Dickinson, and Altered Auditory Feedback in The King’s Speech and the work of Alvin Lucier and Victoria Hanna.