New Media RoundTable: Student Research Panel, Caitlin Marshall and William Brown III
Lecture | November 3 | 12-1 p.m. | 340 Moffitt Undergraduate Library
Voicescapes: Synthesizing Conjunctures of Body and Technology
Caitlin Marshall, BCNM New Media Fellow
New Media Interventions in Youth Sexual Health Promotion and HIV/STI Prevention
William Brown III, BCNM New Media Fellow
Caitlin Marshall’s larger research focuses on voice prosthesis and synthesis, minority discourse, and the sound of civics. Each year in America ten to twelve thousand individuals undergo cancer treatment necessitating laryngectomy, the surgical removal of the larynx. With their sound sources removed, laryngectomees are rendered mute. To counter what many patients describe as the disability of silence, nearly all opt for prosthesis and speech therapy. Together, procedures, devices, and techniques enable operable throats to voice. Laryngectomee voice however, sounds difference, characterizing laryngectomee voice as ‘unexpressive,’ and index it as Other. Drawing from sustained ethnographic work with laryngectomees and health personnel, this work denaturalizes voice by drawing attention to the breach between the biological and the technological, and the degree to which the biological and aesthetic are yoked to formulate, diagnose, and regulate the norm of the ‘natural’ body. Caitlin’s work argues that voice is not the issue of an imagined corporeality, but the conjuncture of body with a variety of technologies: material, pedagogical, and discursive. Adopting an analytic of vocal ecologies troubles the dichotomy of biological/natural vs. technological. Moreover, this analytic highlights voice as always already signing a mediated subjectivity, one that is abled or disabled, raced, classed, sexed, and gendered. Vocal ecologies are the multiple ways in which voice is done and maintained; they open new spaces in which to hear and sound difference.
William Brown III is the manager of eCommunications/Admin. for Health Research for Action at UCB, and is researching applications of New Media technology to forward the center’s goal of translating academic research into helpful and community appropriate health interventions. New Media is still a relatively new field and its applications in sexual health intervention are in its infancy. Taking into consideration ethical challenges, the current political debates surrounding health care and sexual education, as well as our current financial crisis, the overall goal of William’s research is to contribute to the emerging literature on New Media in public health, to enhance sexual health intervention by unearthing the potentiality of New Media, and to begin the difficult work of understanding the unique processes necessary to evaluate a New Media intervention. His aim is to explore how New Media in general, and the Internet specifically, may impact public health’s capacity for effective sexual health intervention, research and action. In order to situate New Media technologies within youth sexual health promotion and HIV/STI prevention, he is conducting an in-depth literature analysis drawing from the most relevant literature in the growing field of New Media, but paying particular attention to Social Media. He is also conducting a case study analysis on a promising Internet-based computer-mediated technology; and finally, will develop an in-depth evaluation plan for that technology.