McNair/Gateway Scholars Program USC

Nathaniel Dumas

Major and Classification

Cinema

Faculty Mentors

  • Professor Lanita Jacobs - Huey

Department

  • Anthropology

McNair Project

"CONTESTING PORKY AND WANDA CRITIQUING MAINSTREAM MEDIA IN THE STUTTERING COMMUNITY"

This paper examines how members of stutterers support groups critically engage mainstream representations of their speech in popular culture (e.g., movies, news reports, etc.). Drawing from ethnographic observations of two Southern California stuttering support groups and interviews with members over the past year, I explore how participants manage public and private discourse around their individual and collective identity and strategies of resistance to mainstream images of stuttering. Narrative data highlights members' use of counternarratives to decry representations considered otherwise inoffensive and sometimes humorous. This study redresses a gap in existing literature around stuttering, which tend to focus on treatments/therapies and homogeneous experiences of stutterers with disregard to factors of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. This study provides a situated example of how marginalized groups, particularly local and national stuttering communities, (re) define themselves against stigmatizing representations through the strategic use of intra-cultural narratives and shared experiences in private community settings.