Dying

In this episode, we’re going to think about death. All things must come to an end, but that does not mean death is all ending. We ask — what can death teach us about life?

Ghost Tour
The actual name of Stanford University is Leland Stanford, Jr. University after a boy who died of typhoid at 15. After Leland Jr. died, his parents, Jane and Leland Sr., built this university to honor him. Lecturer Jake Warga gives campus tours – ghost tours – to remind us that even if Leland Jr. is dead, Stanford’s history isn’t.

Featuring: Jake Warga
Producers: Nikhil Raghuraman, Mike Mahowald, and Warren Christopher

Death Cafe
Michelle Chang drives around the country hosting “death cafes,” gatherings where strangers come together and talk openly about death. At death cafes, people confront the reality of dying and in doing so, make meaning of their lives.

Producer: Will Shan

Claudia Biçen
Claudia Biçen, a San Francisco artist, interviewed nine hospice patients about their experiences of dying. She then created larger than life-size portraits of each patient, and on each person’s clothing, wrote out the test of their interview. At exhibitions, Biçen played audio clips of the interviews, so you can actually hear the voice of the person you’re seeing. She called her project “Thoughts in Passing.”

Featuring: Claudia Biçen
Producer: Aparna Verma

Dia De Los Muertos
We go to San Francisco for the annual Day fo the Dead parade, a tradition that can be traced back to the Aztecs. It’s a time when families come together to celebrate ancestors and loved ones who have passed away, prompting us to ask what we can learn about life through death.

Producers: Regina Kong, Lena Lee, and Isabella Tilley


Mythologizing

In this episode, we search for myths in the modern world. We ask . — where are monsters hiding, and who created them? What do the myths we circulate say about ourselves?

Story 1: Miscreants, Wretches, Witches, And Hags
Professor Elaine Treharne talks about Beowulf and the women who are called monsters.

Producer: Sophie McNulty

Story 2: Myth Of the Golden Hands
In the desert, sitting in a broken down car, a graduate student faces off against a powerful myth.

Featuring: Ahinoam Pollack, a PhD student in the Energy Resources Engineering Department
Producers: Christy Hartman, Morgan Canaan

Story 3: A Comical Escape
Is your favorite superhero just a mislabeled monster? Are you? Professor Scott Bukatman discusses the creation of monstrous superheroes and the peculiar power of comics.

Featuring: Scott Bukatman
Producers: Ben Schwartz, Jett Hayward

Story 4: Iceland’s Concealed Conservationists
Iceland’s Concealed Conservationists is about the elf population in Iceland and how Icelanders’ tradition of hidden creatures living in the landscape encourages a deep respect for nature and a sense of responsibility to preserve the wilderness which is an essential part of Iceland’s culture and identity. But over the past few years the numbers of tourists travelling to Iceland has increased drastically as people from other countries seek these rare and dramatic locations and so Iceland’s untouched wilderness is at risk of losing its essential character. This story is about the landscape of Iceland and the magic of life that it holds, and the Icelanders’ efforts to ensure that it is not lost.

Supported by the Stanford Storytelling Braden Grant.

Producer: Michaela Elias


Solitude

What happens when we find ourselves in solitude, whether on purpose or accidentally? In this episode, people navigate aloneness and explore what it means to be secluded from everyone and everything else.

Release date: 26 April 2019

Story 1: Ryan Petterson

Geology researcher Ryan Petterson goes out into Death Valley for research. Even though there’s no one around for miles, he finds connection with others.

ProducerSofia Sanchez-Luege

Story 2: Charlotte Brown

Charlotte Brown takes a deep dive into a form of solitude that more and more people are trying out — meditation. This solitude takes her places she never imagined.

ProducerStephanie Niu

Story 3: Soundtracker

Gordon Hempton goes to the most remote places of the world and records the soundscape before it disappears.

Producer: Leslie Chang with help from Jett Hayward

Story 4: Sienna

While working in Alaska, Sienna White grapples with solitude, and the loneliness that it can produce.

Producer: Sienna White

Story 5: The Bridge

Adesuwa talks to the staff at the Bridge, an on-campus peer-counseling center about what it’s like to take calls from people alone in the night. Featuring: Hannah Nguyen, Albert Gehami, Rebecca Bromley

Producer: Adesuwa Agbonile