University Of The Air

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Hosts Norman Gilliland and Emily Auerbach invite distinguished faculty guests from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss topics in music, art, writing, theater, science, education, and history. "University of the Air" can be heard on Sundays at 4 p.m.

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Hosts Norman Gilliland and Emily Auerbach invite distinguished faculty guests from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss topics in music, art, writing, theater, science, education, and history. "University of the Air" can be heard on Sundays at 4 p.m.
🇬🇧 English
last modified
2018-12-03 21:53
last episode published
2018-12-02 16:00
publication frequency
6.07 days
Wisconsin Public Radio owner   author  
Number of Episodes
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Date Thumb Title & Description Contributors

Whatever Happened To Good And Evil?

As world cultures blend, how do we determine what's good, and what's evil? Our guest tells us that some absolutes remain.

Women And Power In Post-Conflict Africa

Liberia elected the first woman president in Africa, Uganda has a female vice president, and Angola has more than a majority of seats in Parliament held by women. Professor Aili Tripp explores the way women have gained political offices and brought abo...

The Fall Of Rome

The Roman Empire was the most powerful the world had seen. Trials of war and peace, justice and policy that plagued the emperors of the time continue to this day. Historians cite weak leadership as one of the pivotal causes that led to the collapse of ...

Francis Webster And World War I

We explore "Somewhere Over There: The Letters, Diary, and Artwork of a World War I Corporal," discussing the life and work of World War I soldier and Iowa native Corporal Francis Webster. Webster documented the grim realities of combat as well as warti...

World War I In Poetry And Prose

Some of the longest-lasting impressions of a war are the images it evokes in art. For World War II, there’s the photo of the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. For the Spanish Civil War, it might be Picasso’s painting Guernica. As we continue to observe ...


Psychologist Joseph Newman and neuroscientist Mike Koenigs share some of their considerable research into the phenomenon of psychopathy, also known as antisocial personality disorder.

Miracles — Or Not?

We often say that something like winning the lottery is a miracle, when we really mean that it has a low, but actual, probability of occurring to us. The debate surrounding miracles is a subject of contemporary philosophical research. UW Professor of P...

Ink And Tears: Five Centuries Of A Famous Chinese Family

We explore the transition from Imperial China to modern China through the writings and customs of prominent writer Yu Yue and his descendants. Professor Rania Huntington discusses her own journey from Mazomanie, Wisconsin, to a career in Chinese studie...

Race Theory and Ethical Issues in Genetics

Is race a real scientific designation, or a social construct — or both? And what has current genetic research shown us about the biological status of race? Professor Pilar Ossorio explains the interaction between ethics, genetics, biology, and race the...

Clarence Darrow

The Scopes trial, the Leopold and Loeb murder trial, Clarence Darrow was involved with some of the most famous legal cases in American history. What did he stand for and how was he able to become one of the most prominent lawyers of the 20th century? A...

Endless Empire

Is the U.S. losing its grip as a global power? Alfred McCoy, editor of "Endless Empire," will compare America today with the decline of the Spanish and British empires.

Kamikaze Diaries Reveal That Many Pilots Were Coerced

Many of World War II Japan's kamikaze pilots had no choice but to fly suicide missions. We'll hear some of their stories from letters and diaries with Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney.

Infamous Mothers in Literature and Life

Teen moms, 'baby mamas,' sex workers, and crack addicts: how did they come out on the other side as doctors, lawyers, artists, counselors, and more? Activist Sagashus Levingston discusses her book Infamous Mothers: Women who've gone through the belly o...

Leonard Bernstein - A Centennial Salute

He was a major force in 20 th century music. Leonard Bernstein was one of America’s leading composers of classical music and Broadway shows, the longtime conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and a much-recorded pianist. As we observe a hundred years...

Producing Pride and Prejudice

In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice , Elizabeth Bennet rejects the wealthy Mr. Darcy as the last man on earth she would ever marry. Sparks fly when these two converse on stage in the American Players Theatre’s production of Pride and Prejudice. APT’s ...

Forgotten Trials of the Holocaust

World War II spawned hundreds of trials, not just in Germany, but in a variety of countries, including the United States. Trial lawyer Frank Tuerkheimer will take us through several trials that added to our understanding of the Holocaust, and the varie...

The Fall of Wisconsin

Political journalist Dan Kaufman explores how Wisconsin has moved from the state of "Fighting" Bob Lafollette and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson to a state banning collective bargaining and restricting voter IDs. Kaufman discusses his book "The Fall ...

Hooked on Stories

Why do we find stories so compelling? What's contained within a human narrative that makes it spellbinding to the listener? And can our love of stories help explain our similar craving for music? Neuroscientist Indre Viskontas studies the relationship ...

The Movie Music of Bernard Herrmann

Bernard Herrmann’s first assignment as a film composer was as big as they get—Citizen Kane—and he went on to write music for some of the great films to come, including Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo, North By Northwest, Psycho, The Birds, and Marnie. He al...

A History of Camping

Stanley Temple talks about the history of camping and how we have gone from camping for survival to camping for fun.

From Networks to Netflix

UW Professor of Media and Cultural Studies Derek Johnson offers a "TV Guide" through the transformation of traditional broadcast channels into a proliferation of cable and digital options.

Moby Dick

It’s a strange book in some ways—part novel, part theater and part documentary. In 1851 Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Today it’s considered a literary masterpiece, but in its day it was so overlooked that it began Melville’s slide into obscurity. I’m NG...

Africans in the Americas

The Dutch brought the first African slave to what is now the United States in 1619, but by then slavery had been common in other parts of the New World for more than a century. Brazil alone imported five million slaves and Haiti and Cuba were major sla...

The Joy of Dictionaries

Who decides which words make it into dictionaries and how to define them in non-biased ways? Professor Emeritus Marshall Cook looks behind the scenes at lexicographers such as Kory Stamper (author of Word by Word), and Derrick Allen (graduate of the UW...

Black Aboltionists

David Walker, Maria Stewart, and Frederick Douglass were revolutionary black abolitionists in the 19 th century who raised their voices to try to end slavery. Professor Christy Clark Pujara introduces these figures and their turbulent times. Two gradua...

Debussy's Piano Portraits

Claude Debussy was one of the most innovative composers in history and he had a remarkable ability to create images through music. From the Orient to turn-of the Century America and the mysterious to the comic, Debussy brought it out in the sounds of t...

A New Look at the Declaration of Independence

Although we recognize the phrases “All men are created equal” and “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” how many of us know the WHOLE Declaration of Independence? Award-winning Harvard Professor Danielle Allen shares her experience teaching th...

with Norman Gilliland and Emily Auerbach

We invite distinguished faculty guests from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss topics in music, art, writing, theater, science, education, and history.

Romance, Risk, and Healthy Relationships

Lauren Papp, UW-Madison Professor and Director of the UW Couples Lab, explores the impact of intimate human relationships on individual and others' well-being.

Wisconsin's Politics of Resentment

Wisconsin is a “purple state” that has elected both Republican and Democratic officials and battled over a gubernatorial recall. In this hour, political scientist Katherine Cramer explores the split between rural and urban areas of the state, drawing o...

How the Ho-Chunk Resisted Removal

During the long course of Native Americans displacement from their ancestral lands, Wisconsin’s Ho-Chunk took various steps to resist it—some of the successful. Historian Stephen Kantrowitz tells how many Ho-Chunk found ways to return to Wisconsin and ...

Rabbi Menasseh ben Israel: The Most Famous Jew of His Time -- with Steven Nadler

Meet 17th-century rabbi, scholar, diplomat, and publisher Manasseh ben Israel and learn why a man hailed as a world celebrity died in poverty. Professor Steven Nadler is the author of "Menasseh ben Israel, Rabbi of Amsterdam."

The Road to Appomattox

As we approach the 150 th anniversary of the end of the Civil War, how obvious is the outcome? At what point did the war become unwinnable for the Confederacy? What part did the war play in solidifying the Union? Historian Stephen Kantrowitz describes ...

For Sunday, April 1st, 2018

Hosts Norman Gilliland and Emily Auerbach invite distinguished faculty guests from the University of Wisconsin-Madison to discuss topics in music, art, writing, theater, science, education, and history.

Music and the Vietnam War

Doug Bradley and Craig Werner discuss their new book We Gotta Get Out of This Place: The Soundtrack of the Vietnam War , which was selected by Rolling Stone Magazine as the number 1 book about music for 2015.

Farmer's Markets and Food Justice -- with Alfonso Morales

Colorful bouquets of flowers and piles of fresh fruits and vegetables: what is the value of a farmers market? How are farmers markets tied into broader questions about race, gender, and food justice? In this hour, Professor Alfonso Morales traces his j...

The Dark Side of the Universe

Ninety-five percent of the universe is invisible. How do we know it’s there and what is it? We'll take a look at the dark side of the universe, including the mysterious forces that affect the spin of our galaxy and the processes that build and destroy ...

Sustainable Agriculture

What effect will climate change have on what you eat? What impact will it have on small farms and large? In the hour to come, agriculturalist Fred Kirschenmann will guide us through the present and future of agriculture, from how to restore the biologi...

Inequities in Women’s Health

How does the exclusion of women from clinical studies threaten their lives? Why is the mortality rate three times higher for African American mothers and infants than for the general population? We explore inequities in women’s health here at home and ...

Wisconsin's Mound Builders

Native American societies in Wisconsin built more effigy mounds than did those in any other region of North America . . . between 15 and 20 thousand of them, thousands of which remain. Wisconsin Historical Society Archaeologist Amy Rosebrough talks abo...

John Bascom and the Wisconsin Idea - with J. David Hoeveler

Explore John Bascom, the colorful President of the University of Wisconsin from 1874-1887 who championed women’s rights, worker’s rights, temperance, the pursuit of truth, and a notion that would go on to earn fame as “The Wisconsin Idea.”


We look at the origins of spirituals, and find out why there was resistance to bringing them back. Plus, a look at the challenges that faced performers and some examples.

Mass Incarceration

Four members of UW's School of Human Ecology approach the problem of mass incarceration.

Discovering Ancient Sardis

Sardis was the capital city of the fabled Lydian king Croesus, whose wealth in gold and silver were beyond the imagination. We look at how the city failed when it was at the peak of its power. We discover a pyramid bigger by far than anything the Egypt...

Discovering Ancient Sardis - with Nick Cahill

Sardis was the capital city of the fabled Lydian king Croesus, whose wealth in gold and silver were beyond the imagination. Recent archaeological discoveries have told us a lot about the teeming life and mysterious death of the great city. And from arc...

Pain and Palliative Care with Dr. James Cleary

While Americans are increasingly addicted to opioids, cancer patients in Third World countries are dying in agony without them. The guest this hour is Dr. James Cleary, professor of medical oncology at the UW Carbone Cancer Center, and Director of the ...

The Joy of French - with Sage Goellner

Words like cuisine, rendezvous, buffet, and chauffeur fill our English language. Why are the French known for being snobbish about their language? How different is French in France from French in other parts of the Francophone world? Why is "thinking i...

Wisconsin & the Shaping of American Law - with Jay Ranney

The freedom of runaway slaves, the government right to regulate corporations, the power of administrative agencies to make regulations affecting businesses, worker’s compensation—in the past 150 years, Wisconsin law has paved the way for federal laws r...

Christmas with the King's Singers - with Chris Bruerton & Tim Wayne-Wright

What better way to celebrate fifty years of top-notch singing than to release a three-CD set of your favorites—which is what the King’s Singers have done. Two members of the world-renowned a cappella sextet will share their insights into ten of their p...

Monsters of Antiquity - with Will Brockliss

Ancient monsters include a chimera with the heads of a snake, lion, and she-goat, a one-eyed cannibal, and venomous women whose gaze turns viewers into stone. Classics professor Will Brockliss links horrific creations of ancient Greece and Rome to our ...