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Life stories are the connective tissue of social life—if we don’t share them, we lose parts of ourselves.

-- Michael Jackson, Minima Ethnographica: Intersubjectivity and the Anthropological Project

Compared with the reality which comes from being seen and heard, even the greatest forcers of intimate life-the passions of the heart, the thoughts of the mind, the delights of the senses--lead to an uncertain, shadowy kind of existence unless and until they are transformed, deprivatized, and deindividualized, as it were, into a shape to fit them for public appearance. The most current of such transformation occurs in storytelling.

--Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition

Spring of 2021. All around the U.S., most students have been out of the classroom for a year. In our Storytelling & Culture course in the Department of Anthropology & Sociology at the University of New Orleans, we wondered what we could create together that would bridge the divides we have all been feeling--not just from the pandemic, but many other historical and cultural dynamics that often keep us from really knowing each other. We decided on an experimental, musical podcast. Here you will find our collaborative ethnography that shares complex histories, devotions, and dreams. A six part series, the project incorporates music to explore how communities use  songs to illuminate experiences that are sometimes difficult to talk about directly. What music has filled in the gaps? Taken together, the series brings us into the intimate spaces of families and communities across South Louisiana. 

CREDITS: Logo by Alexis Chivatero; Story editing and musical notations by Rachel Breunlin; Theme song and transitional music, as well as audio engineering, by Joseph Petersen (with support from David Farrell on Episode 5 and Act 1 of Episode 6). 

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