Group photo of fall 2018 Tutorial students standing in front of a computer screen with Anna Sale's face from Skype.
Skype discussion with Anna Sale, host of Death, Sex & Money podcast (WNYC), with students in the Tutorial course, Death, Sex & Money: Advice from Social Scientists.
Professor Kathleen Oberlin, Grinnell College

“The things we think about a lot and need to talk about more” is a tagline for the popular Death, Sex & Money (DSM) podcast produced by WNYC. In the fall of 2018, with a group of first year students starting off at Grinnell College, we explored not only what we think about death, sex, and money but also examined what lessons we could gather up from social science research.

We used storytelling to guide our inquiry. Podcasts like DSM are a popular tool to share firsthand experiences and glimpse into the lives of others. So, we listened to podcast episodes and talked to the host about their process (thank you Anna Sale!).

Social science data is another way to tell stories. We often want to know ‘on average’ or ‘what most people’ do, so we also examined interviews, surveys, and social network data to situate our discussions in light of broader trends. We contextualized our own intimate thoughts and experiences in relation to others living in the United States and around the world.

Inspired by DSM, students at the end of the semester produced this website to showcase their own pilot episodes. Check them out and let us know what you think!

A special thank you to Gina Donovan for her technical expertise and enthusiastic support of our course.  Some rights reserved under Creative Commons.





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