CFP: Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies 3.2



GUEST EDITOR: YVON BONENFANT, Professor of Artistic Process, Voice and Extended Practices, University of Winchester

The Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies invites submissions from scholars in a wide array of fields that intersect with, and/or move beyond, voice studies: such as: theatre and performance studies, musicology, sound studies, cultural studies, materiality studies, philosophical discourses, clinical voice studies, speech studies and voice and speech science to consider, and respond to, the questions in our below call.

We are interested in exploring emerging and exciting approaches to how we might synthesise knowledge from across the voice and sound studies field to address the below questions in interesting ways.


1.         Interested in the theme? Read the below context statement and questions, and consider sending us a draft article for peer review.

2.         We seek articles approximately 5000 words in length. However, we are open to articles longer or shorter – we will be making a final selection of articles using curatorial principles.

3.         The ‘Voicings’ section of JIVS allows for discourses that are more narrative, report-like, poetic, or experimental in nature. You can consider sending us alternative writing forms that would take us inside your response to this call. Consult back issues of the journal for examples.

4.         Send your article to: Yvon Bonenfant at

5.         Deadline for articles to reach us: September 30, 2017

As this call follows on from a symposium in January, 2017, we are aware there may be many more articles sent to us than this volume of JIVS can contain. Know that your article may be considered for future issues of JIVS, should it be of excellent quality, but not ‘map on’ to the thematics of this volume and its final curated format.


Context statement:

Voices have power. Who gets listened to matters. Moving beyond the notion of voice as metaphor, we are interested in unpicking the Foucauldian rules that seem to govern the production and perception of identity in vocal sound, beyond – or perhaps beneath – language and accent (if such dissociation is even possible).

The voice resists analysis, as Adriana Cavarero (2005) passionately asserts. How we hear individuals through their voicing, and how we determine what person, or kinds of people, we think we are hearing is still relatively little understood. Even from a neurological perspective, as Kreiman and Sidtis (2011) point out, the mechanisms that underpin acts of hearing voice and identifying speakers have been much less studied than the mechanisms underpinning vision. How we hear each other is neglected. What’s more, to build on Stephen Connor’s (2000) assertions, the voice is simultaneously ‘alive’ and ‘dead’, in that it is (usually) produced by living bodies, yet once it moves away from us, it but a phenomenon of physics: it becomes fields of vibration, separated from biological life, while evoking that very life in our imaginations.

Given that this vocal sound is a vibrational phenomenon, we might assert that the vibratory quality of the voice literally touches us (Eidsheim 2015). So, when we voice, we emit fields of vibration that come into contact with, and ‘stir up’, other bodies.  If that is the case, in a world where identity categories and their intersectionality are always at play, what might it mean to be touched by identities (perceived to be) embedded in vocal sound?  Eidsheim (2011) asserts that in the case of opera singer Marian Anderson, the perception of race in her voice was, and is, a construction of the listener; indeed, in the little psycholinguistic study that has been done on the perception of race in speech in America, people cannot reliably ‘hear’ African-Americanness without hearing verbal accent (in Kreiman and Sidtis 2011), even though there appears to be a widespread cultural belief that there is such a thing as a sounding, biologically-based,  ‘Black’ voice.  At the same time, both Bonenfant and Jarman have made different arguments about how we might hear (Jarman 2011) or feel (Bonenfant 2010) queerness in voices.  What we think we hear, what we hear, what we feel, and what we think we feel are all dance together within the perception of vocal identity. What is the balance?

1.       From your theoretical and practical viewpoints, what aspects, qualities, performances, or manifestations of vocalisation might be perceived to constitute markers of the kinds of identity we might say are derived from recent-historical notions of identity politics – for positive or for negative? In other words, what aspects of vocal sound beyond pitch and accent might cause that sound to be ‘racialised’, ‘homosexualised’, ‘gendered’, ‘classed’, otherwise ‘ethnicised’, or otherwise ‘queered’? Are these phenomena acoustically detectable? Are they really embedded within voicings, or are they constructions we ‘think’ we hear?

2.       How might these mechanisms of the attribution of qualities of identity to voices actually work?

3.       What are the consequences of these mechanisms, from your scholarly or professional perspective: aesthetically, socioculturally, biopolitically…?

4.       If, as asserts Stephen Connor via his notion of the ‘vocalic body’, we attribute (fantasized, visual, tactile) bodies to voices, what are the implications of your views in light of how bodies approach, engage with, and are willing to enter into genuine contact one another via vocalisation? How do these dynamics seem to function in your personal experience, or in your sphere of analysis, or both?


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