Project Parastin

Project Parastin is an effort to save the stories of the Kurdish people, particularly those of the large community in Nashville, TN. The goal is to supplement the narrative of the Kurds but not through the experiences or words of outsiders. From jokes to songs to games to pets and pals, these men and women can and should tell their own stories; for their families, their people, and a world that scarcely knows them.

The project is led by folklorist Steve Goddard and public historian Laura-Michal Balderson and will include audio recordings and written transcripts, per the approval of each participant.

Right now, we are only interviewing Kurds 60 years of age and above. But if this is you or someone you know, please fill out the form below. We’d love to help you share your story!

Sample questions:

  • What is your earliest childhood memory?
  • Are there certain sounds or smells that remind you of that time? Explain.
  • What was your favorite thing to do as a child?

Steve Goddard has worked among Kurds for twenty-seven years in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East through a Nashville, TN-based non-profit. He is fluent in Kurdish (Sorani) and has an M.A. in Folk Studies from Western Kentucky University. His 2013-2014 research on Kurds is available online (Neither [Fully] Here Nor There: Negotiation Narratives of Nashville’s Kurdish Youth).

Laura-Michal Balderson has worked as a museum educator at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, developing and leading public programs and creating resources to promote civic engagement. She also has experience in collections management, exhibit design, and digital programming. She holds a B.A. in History and English from the University of Mary Washington and an M.A. in History with a Museum Studies concentration from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

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