…and this is my voice: autopathophonography and the politics of variable voice


  • Jonathan Sterne McGill University




voice, cancer, impairment, disability, vocality


This essay describes the production and theoretical context of an audio work entitled “…and this is my voice.” In May and June 2010, I took recordings of my voice while on the way into external beam radiation treatments for an aggressive case of papillary thyroid cancer in my neck. I then used these recordings as the raw material for the work. This essay provides full documentation of the production process for those who may want or need something beyond the original audio work to engage with it fully, as well as a theoretical discussion of the ideology of vocal ability: the belief that voices are expressions of subjects’ inner states and abilities.


Work available at: https://jonathansterne.bandcamp.com/track/and-this-is-my-voice

Author Biography

Jonathan Sterne, McGill University

Jonathan Sterne teaches in the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. He is author of Diminished Faculties: A Political Phenomenology of Impairment (Duke, 2021), MP3: The Meaning of a Format (Duke 2012), The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction (Duke, 2003); and numerous articles on media, technologies and the politics of culture. He is also editor of The Sound Studies Reader (Routledge, 2012) and co-editor of The Participatory Condition in the Digital Age (Minnesota, 2016). Currently, he is writing about artificial intelligence and culture, and with coauthor Mara Mills, he is at work on a book called Tuning Time: Histories of Sound and Speed. Visit his website at http://sterneworks.org.



How to Cite

Sterne, J. (2021). …and this is my voice: autopathophonography and the politics of variable voice. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 10(2), 294–304. https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v10i2.804