Pittsburgh, the Realest City: Shit Talk’n’, Storytell’n’, Social Livin’


  • Jacqueline Roebuck Sakho


This article documents my lived experience as a participant observer in a writing/performance course that brought together returning citizens, police officers, community activists, university students, and faculty. I utilize Sharon Hoffman’s (2004) “Living Stories” framework and Quiana Cutts’s (2016) concept of ars spirituality, an expansion of poetic inquiry, as lenses to frame the discussion of my storytelling and storiography experience. Curated by Duquesne University sociologist Norman Conti, with theoretical justification from C. Wright Mills and Erving Goffman, the course was co-facilitated by award-winning actor/writer Roger Guenveur Smith and world-renowned writing coach and performer Susan Stein over the Zoom video conferencing platform during the 2021 spring semester. Altogether, the course functioned as a dialogic space where individuals could transcend social status in order to know each other—and perhaps even themselves—through their stories.