group photo of class

Taking a pause from our collaborative work together on campus at Swarthmore College in May 2017. (L to R) Sabea Evans, Richard Phillips, Brandon Ekweonu, Marissa Bredesen, Arya Cheng, Jamie A. Thomas.

Why a Podcast Series?

Language is the stuff of life. Everyday, we are constantly gauging the rhythm, warmth, speed, and tone of our conversational partners for clues to meaning. Often, what is said can be just as important as how it is delivered.

With its emphasis on audio, the podcast brings listeners closer to the multiple textures of voices, more than a traditional written report ever could. We can hear speakers as they want to be heard, and encounter, through their voices, the layered meanings, shared cultural values, and colloquial expressions that make up communities. We can also share the results of our project with community stakeholders, as a way of giving back to the community, and inviting further dialogue and feedback.

A journalistic endeavor, this podcast series was a pedagogical tool for cultivating:

  • Engaged scholarship,
  • Field methods in participant observation and techniques of interviewing,
  • Critical thinking and analysis of a complex, extemporaneous data set,
  • Skills of communication, collaboration, and project management,
  • An ecology of digital humanities skills.

Early in our weekly seminar, we digitally recorded audio interviews with Latinx artists, small business owners, students, and others, in visits to Taller Puertorriqueño, a cultural center located in North Philadelphia (2600 N. 5th Street). Afterwards, we reflected on these interviews and our interpersonal experiences with local residents by engaging in seminar discussions, and drafting individual, written analyses. Returning to these audio excerpts in further stages of post-production and textual editing, students opted to record their own live commentary, to report on what they learned in an informal and engaging manner. Pairing select excerpts from their community interviews with this live commentary, students developed a template for a 20-minute podcast episode, later incorporating scripted segments designed to tie each episode of the series together.

Through this semester-long experience, students with no prior experience in producing digital audio learned how to use tools of hardware (Zoom audio recorders) and software (Garageband, Audacity) through workshops with media technologists. We also learned from digital humanities librarians how to professionally archive our audio, use tools for version control (Github) and content management (Prose.io), and layer sound onto text to produce interactive web content (SoundCite JS).

Please contact ude.eromhtraws@6samohtj for more information about this online exhibit.

group working in language resource center

Students collaborate in post-production editing of interview recordings at the Language Center on campus at Swarthmore College in April 2017. (L to R) Richard Phillips, Marissa Bredesen, and Brandon Ekweonu.

What’s With the ™ ?

Across seminar discussions of what the title of our project should be, students eventually settled on AfroLatinx Podcast™ , a moniker that creatively incorporates ™ as an element of contemporary Internet and spoken slang. When a speaker adds these two letters after a phrase, they implicate the notion of trademarking, and in effect, produces a neologism that calls attention to the initial phrase and amplifies the speaker’s ownership of their innovation. Here, we celebrate our innovative collaboration in developing this digital humanities project with support from institutional partners in the Tri-Colleges, and partners in the Philadelphia community.