Culturally speaking: media, intimacy, and the vocal dimension of race and gender
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT AUTHOR'S REQUEST.] This project examines the racial and gendered meanings of vocal sound, focusing specifically on the ways voices and their cultural associations are circulated through media. I employ methods and theoretical assumptions drawn from cultural studies, rhetoric, and feminist and critical race theory to examine mediated voices. The traditional textual analysis methods and more innovative approaches specific to vocal communication studies I outline here are designed to map the relationship between two tenets of vocal ideology: vocal identity and vocal intimacy. Through this project, then, I extend previous literature on vocal sound's ability to construct and communicate aspects of racial and gendered identities. Additionally, this study theorizes the way these identities work with media's structures and the broader cultural context to encourage a sense of intimacy for consumers. The theoretical tenets of what I call "critical cultural vocalics" are concretized through analyses of Morgan Freeman's acting career, political impersonations on Saturday Night Live, and Whitevoice impressions by stand-up comedians of color. By examining these two intersecting and co-constitutive processes in the context of three case studies, I propose and demonstrate a critical cultural vocalics designed to foreground the ways vocal identity and vocal intimacy work together to idealize particular performances of race and gender through media's voices.