Metaphoric Stammers and Embodied Speakers: Expanding the Borders of Dysfluency Studies
University College Dublin
12 October, 2018
Keynote speaker: Chris Eagle, Emory University, Centre for the Study of Human Health (Dysfluencies: On Speech Disorders in Modern Literature, 2014; Talking Normal: Literature, Speech Disorders, and Disability, ed. 2013)
The conference will explore the embodied experience and cultural construction of stammering from the collaborative perspectives of literary/cultural analysis, speech therapy and neurological research. The aim of the conference is to develop an interface between literary, cultural and clinical practice in the area of speech ‘disorders’, generating new forms of communication and exchange across these fields.
Despite the centrality of literary/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. This conference addresses this imbalance, bringing cultural analysis into genuine exchange with scientific and therapeutic practice, and necessarily negotiating the tension between a medically-inflected model of ‘recovery’ and an emergent challenge to cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech. Dysfluency is explored less as a ‘disorder’ to be treated, than a form of communication that highlights the intricate relationship between speaking and being heard, vocal agency and cultural reception.
Literary culture has provided a rich and complex store of information about how stammering has been represented and interpreted at different historical junctures, within diverse cultural contexts and in relation to the variables of gender, class and ethnicity. The stammer has also been harnessed as a metaphor for how literary language works, how it operates at the limits of its expressive resources, occupying a territory that circles the paradoxical power of the ineffable. Recent work in the humanities, however, has signalled the need to balance such metaphorical readings with a sense of the corporeal experience of dysfluency, what Jay Dolmage has called ‘the embodied struggle for expression’ (Disability Rhetoric 2014). This renewed focus on embodiment invites diverse, interdisciplinary approaches that serve to accentuate the embodied experience of stammering in its neurological, therapeutic and cultural forms.
This conference is generously supported by the Humanities Institute, UCD College of Arts and Humanities, and UCD Seed Funding Scheme.
Proposals are welcomed for twenty-minute papers in (but not limited to) the following areas:
Normative Speech and Varieties of Expression: cultural constructions of ‘normal’ speech and the representation of ‘counter voices’ of dysfluency.
Rethinking ‘Recovery’: innovations in therapeutic practice (e.g., Narrative Therapy, Non-Avoidance Therapy, Covert/Interiorised Stammering Therapy).
Mapping the Brain: neurological perspectives, auditory feedback, and ‘circuits’ of communication.
Gender and Dysfluency: gendered experience and its reception/representation.
Guide for submissions:
All submissions should include name and email address, a 250-word abstract, a short biography (with academic/professional affiliation, if applicable). Proposals for individual papers or panels of 3 papers are welcomed. Panels that include presenters with a range of affiliations, career experiences and disciplinary homes are encouraged.
All proposals should be submitted as Word document.
Deadline for submissions: Thursday 12 July 2018.
Organiser: Dr Maria Stuart, School of English, Drama, Film and Creative Writing, UCD.
For submission of proposals and general enquiries, please contact: email@example.com.