Who Killed Jane Stanford … The Podcast

History 50N
4 Units
Instructors: Jake Warga, Richard White

In 1905 Jane Stanford died of strychnine poisoning. Who may have killed her remains unknown. For this seminar, you will become collaborative historians and journalists to research the case and create investigative audio podcast much like WBEZ’s Serial. Building on research by a previous freshman seminar, you will together you will examine suspects, circumstances, and the often odd actions of central figures and then build an audio story out of interviews, archival materials, and sound recordings. In your application explain your interest, and any experience with, podcasting.

Food, Memoir, and Narrative: The Story Only You Can Tell

Veronica Chambers poster

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
 7:00 pm
Hewlett 200
Admission is free and open to all.

Veronica Chambers is a a four-time New York Times best-selling author who specializes in creativity and collaboration. In this talk, she’ll discuss her James Beard award-winning collaborations with chefs such as Marcus Samuelsson, Eric Ripert and her most recent cookbook project, Between Harlem and Heaven which she co-wrote with Harlem chefs JJ Johnson and Alexander Smalls. She’ll also talk about the Earth Systems class she is teaching at Stanford this quarter, “Environmental and Food System Journalism,” and how food writing can open the door to explorations of culture, history and identity.

Additional details and map are available on the Stanford Event Calendar.

Finding Your Story

PWR 91
3 units
Instructors: Jonah Willihnganz and Fred Luskin

This class will feature a special session with US Poet Laureate Billy Collins and Grammy Award winner Aimee Mann.

Life challenges us to become aware of the stories that shape us—family stories, cultural mythologies, even popular movies, television shows, and songs—and then create and live our own story. We face this challenge throughout our lives but perhaps most acutely as we move into adulthood; this is the period when we most need to become conscious of stories and their power, and to gather practices and resources for finding our own story. This class, designed with seniors in mind, will explore how great stories and your own storytelling can help you reflect deeply about what truly calls to you in this life.

We will engage with some of the world’s great stories—myths, parables, teaching tales, modern fiction, even aphorisms, koans, and riddles. In them we can find both elements that resonate with our own story and provocations that help us unearth and cultivate our native gifts—the genius in each of us. We will look at short excerpts from masterworks and myths from around the world, all voices in the largest conversation we have as humans, the one that asks: who am I? why am I here? what truly matters? how can I be happy? Together we will investigate how these stories, and stories like them, can be used to help us find our own story.

The scholar and storyteller Michael Meade says that we live two adventures in each life. The first involves securing our basic needs and making a place for ourselves in the world. The second is learning, deeply and continuously, who we are and what we stand for. This is a class for the second adventure.

Stories for the Air

EGL 191T
3 Units
Instructor: Molly Antopol

David Sedaris’ humiliating stint as one of Santa’s helpers. Davy Rothbart’s journey to Brazil in search of a miracle healer. Sarah Vowell’s hilarious road trip to presidential assassination sites across the country. By focusing on personal experiences, these writers have moved readers with their approachable, honest and confessional voices.

With the rising popularity of radio programs such as StoryCorps and This American Life, along with a media revolution that has made recording and distributing audio essays easier than ever, an increasing number of us are finding new outlets to tell our stories. In this course, we’ll read classic and contemporary essays as writers, looking at the ways in which conventions of craft are applied and understood—and sometimes re-interpreted or subverted. We’ll then write and workshop our own personal essays, which we’ll record as a show, dedicated to the work we’ve created as a class.


How do we take care of the past after it turns to ash? We visit with families digging through the rubble of their homes in Sonoma after the fires as they sift for memories. This episode asks how we care for people, and what to do if there’s no obvious path to healing. Along the way, we meet a midwife, some worms, and a daughter caring for her mother and herself.

Host: Claudia Heymach
Producers: Claudia Heymach, Crystal Escolero, Emma Heath, Bella Lazzareschi, Helvia Taina, Sarah Jiang, Eileen Williams, Jackson Roach, Jake Warga
Featuring: Ronnie Falcoa, Claire Mollard, Josh Weil, Roshni Thachill
Show music: “The Flight of the Lulu” by Possimiste
Release date: 7 February 2018

Story 1: Midwife Crisis

We don’t always think of caretaking in a professional terms, but for a homebirth midwife, the emotional and physical wellbeing of others is the whole job.

Producer: Emma Heath
Featuring: Ronnie Falcoa

Story 2: From the Ashes

We went to Sonoma County after the fires to help residents dig through the rubble of their homes. Along the way, we asked about what they took with them, what they wanted to take, and what they’re looking for now.

Producers: Crystal Escolero, Helvia Taina, and Claudia Heymach
Featuring: Claire Mollard and Josh Weil
Image courtesy of Jake Warga

Story 3: Depression 1, 2, 3 …

Living with mental illness means living with the mysterious and mundane. Caretakers of loved ones with depression, anxiety or psychosis must come to grips with both sides, and resist the tug of their own demons in the process. This is an ongoing story about a mom, her daughter and the everyday work of love.

Producers: Sarah Jiang and Eileen Williams
Music: “Undersea Garden” and “Love Sprouts” by Podington Bear, “Tennessee Waltz” by Patti Page
Image: “San Valentin 14” by Milan Rubio

The Art of Editing with Julia Barton and Sam Greenspan

Poster with Julia Barton and Sam Greenspan

Join the Stanford Storytelling Project for a special conversation between radio veterans Julia Barton and Sam Greenspan.

Julia Barton is an award-winning radio editor, reporter, and writer. Currently, she edits Revisionist History with Malcolm Gladwell. Her reporting has aired on 99$ Invisible, Radiolab, and elsewhere.

Sam Greenspan is a visiting staffer at the Stanford Storytelling Project. Previously, he was the managing producer at 99% Invisible, where he worked on a number of stories with Julia. Sam is currently developing a new podcast, Bellwether.

Genocide haunts our home: my mom copes life in the U.S. in the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge.

How does one build a new home after losing all of one’s family? A son interviews his mother, a Cambodian refugee and genocide survivor, about her experience resettling in the U.S. He learns how her past has shaped his life.

Producer: Bunnard Phan

Featuring: Nickie Phan, Bunnard Phan

Khnom Min Sok Chet Te by Pan Ron
Chnam oun Dop-Pram Muy by Ros Sereysothea
Orchestral version of “Unchained Melody” by the Righteous Brothers performed at The (Military) Music Show of Nations 2002 Bremen, Germany (www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejm3Q5ZKr28)

A Perfect Storm: Broadcasting Rhythms from the South Bronx to the East of Havana

From the rhyming styles of breakbeat poets and Bronx backyard jams of the 1980s, hip-hop sprang forth from the heart of urban black culture to give voice to the silenced narratives of black communities. The rhythm of resistance. Uncontainable, the sound waves traveled much farther than the national border. In the 1990s, young Cubans living in the barrio of Alamar resonated with the rhythms and attitude in the music and adopted the art form as their own. Moving through this rich oral history and into the present, we will hear the way hip-hop brought these two cultures together in a perfect storm.

Thank you to Luna Gallegos, Laura Cantana, Rolando Almirante, Dr. Cecil Brown, Jeff Chang, “The Wizard”/ “El Brujo,” Yulier, La Rafa El Individuo, and Alejandra Zamora for your honesty and warmth throughout the interview process.

Producer: Nya Hughes

The Message – Grandmaster Flash
Get By – Talib Kweli
Latino & Proud – DJ Raff
Tengo – Hermanos De Causa
Mi Raza – El Individuo
The Bronx in The 1980’s PART 1 (Original)
CHUPI CHUPI – Osmani Garcia

Photo by Nya Hughes

Heaven and Hell: Inside the the Maternity Ward of Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, Zanzibar

After delivering one child, the Head Nurse Nassara turns around, changes her gloves, and delivers another. In Mnazi Mmoja Hospital, Zanzibar, 30-50 babies are born a day. Often, in the maternity ward, there are only 3-4 nurses working at a time. As the largest public hospital in Zanzibar, Mnazi Mmoja faces the island’s high rate of maternal mortality head on, yet, the root of the problem is hard to uncover–it’s tangled up in a much larger system.

This piece would not be possible without the Program in Global Health Technologies at Boston University led by Dr. Zaman, the Stanford Storytelling Project, and the kindness of everyone at Mnazi Mmoja Hospital.

Producer: Megan Calfas

Rui — “Caress me to Sleep”, “Selbstheilend”, “No sudden movements”
Johnny Ripper — ”Nicolas”
Orbique — “Simple”
Cuban Cowboys — “Outro”