University Of The Air

University Of The Air

From Wisconsin Public Radio

On "University Of The Air," hosts Norman Gilliland and Emily Auerbach draw on the knowledge of faculty from Wisconsin universities, visiting professors and artists for conversations about a broad range of topics of enduring interest.More from University Of The Air »

Most Recent Episodes

Why America Entered the Great War

The Great War raged through Europe for three years as the United States entered it. President Woodrow Wilson's re-election was associated with the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War," and not even the loss of American life on the Lusitania sunk by German U-boats in 1915 broke American isolationism. But then things changed, and in 1917 Wilson asked for and got a declaration of war. What resistance was there to America's going to war and what finally tipped the balance in favor of it?

Famous Medieval Love Triangles

As we approach Valentine's Day, we'll look at some famous medieval love triangles. We'll find out how sultry love stories from classical times were brought into the middle ages. We'll look at the debut of Sir Lancelot in literature and get some insight into how women became exalted in the chivalric tradition. We'll find a queen of an aged king who managed to keep the proper relationship between herself and the young warriors around her. And we'll get a sense of how writers distinguished between love and sex.

Cabeza de Vaca's Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America

In 1527, Spanish explorer Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca began one of the most remarkable journeys in history. His exploration party lost contact with their ships, set out northward on foot, and traveled across Florida, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and northern Mexico for the next eight years, a trek that reduced their numbers from 300 to four. In addition to being one of the great true adventure narratives of all time. Cabeza de Vaca's account of those travels is a vivid firsthand description of the land and people of the Southwest as they were nearly 500 years ago.

Cabeza de Vaca's Adventures in the Unknown Interior of America

Wisconsin's First People

Archeologist Sissel Schroeder fills us in on some of the latest discoveries about the earliest Americans. We'll find out where they came from, how they got to the New World and how quickly did they spread across the continent. We'll get a picture of what Wisconsin was like when the first people arrived, what they hunted, and how responsible they were for the extinction of ice age animals. We'll also get a sense of why they came to the Americas in the first place.

Twitter, Zombies, and Social Humanities

Twitter has a broader reach and greater impact than its immediacy and 140-character limit would suggest. But how long will it be around? Media expert Jesse Stommel looks at its current power and speculates on its future.

Adventures of an International Peace Broker

Behind the headlines of diplomatic breakthroughs, unofficial peace brokers do quiet and discreet work setting up negotiations between hostile nations. Our guest for University of the Air was a member of peace delegations that laid the groundwork for ending hostilities between India and Pakistan, North and South Korea, and North and South Vietnam. Joe Elder will tell us how he came to play the role of international peace broker, what the dangers were, and what it was like to meet in private with world leaders.

Adventures of an International Peace Broker

The Pleaseure of His Company: A Love Affair with Shakespeare

Celebrated actors Randall Duk Kim and Anne Occhiogrosso present favorite scenes from the plays of the Bard of Avon.

The Pleaseure of His Company: A Love Affair with Shakespeare

A Cabinet of Greek Curiosities

Although the ancient Greeks gave us democracy, drama, a vast legacy of philosophy, and the foundations of many forms of art and science, they were capable of weird behavior and bizarre beliefs, and James McKoewn sheds light on some of the strangest from his Cabinet of Greek Curiosities.


Hesiod is generally considered to be the first written poet in the Western tradition to think of himself as an individual when he wrote . . Along with Homer, the seventh-century BC writer was credited by ancient authors with establishing Greek religious customs. And he's also a prime source for modern scholars when it comes to researching Greek mythology and farming techniques, and he's sometimes thought of as history's first economist. What do his writings reveal about Hesiod the man and the times he lived in?

A History of the Blues

"Poor Howard" Stith has been performing 12-string barrelhouse blues for over forty years and showed that Delta blues could be found at both ends of the Mississippi. A fellow Minneapolis performer nicknamed him "Poor Howard" after the Leadbelly song and it stuck. Poor Howard's blues style is drawn from the tradition of Leadbelly and Blind Willy McTell, His guitar style and poignant vocals can carry the listener into the world of rowdy barrelhouses or into the field at the end of a long day of weeding crops.Poor Howard Stith will be our guide for an excursion into the history of the blues.

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