Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Joseph D. Sobol

Committee Members

Melissa Schrift, Delanna Kay Reed


The Moth Detroit StorySLAM is one of many storytelling events staged in urban bar environments. Unlike the increasingly aged audiences attending the National Storytelling Festival and similar story festivals, the Detroit StorySLAM consistently yields at capacity crowds of college students and young professionals.

Participants were informally interviewed during the September, October, and November slams of 2010 and the January 2011 slam. In addition to conducting these interviews, the researcher was a participant observer—throwing her name into the hat and being twice called to the stage. Data are presented as a thick description organized according to Richard Bauman's 6 situational factors of the performance event.

Until now questions about the nature and meaning of storytelling have been largely considered from the storyteller's perspective. By redirecting those questions to the listeners, this study reveals the ethos of hundreds of story enthusiasts—an undisputed admiration for the revelation of authentic, individual truths.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.