Humanities on the Radio

What's this wiki?

This is a first stab at compiling a list of humanities-related radio/podcast productions. I am setting up thematic categories, but these are suggestions rather than concrete divisions. Contributions are welcome! Leave your name, etc. in the comments if you contribute so I can keep track.


Why audio?

Aural communication of humanities scholarship has been neglected in favor of written distribution of ideas. But sound has many advantages for scholarly communication and collaboration. From opening up the audience of scholarly work to the general listening public (via radio or podcasts) to providing a forum for integrating archival sound into discussions about history, sound recordings are a creative and effective way to share information about research, pedagogy, and higher education culture. Sound studies projects like Sound Box at the Duke PhD Lab are working to promote research about sound that is produced in sound. The Digital Campus podcast out of the Center for History and New Media brings together a group of scholar-teachers to discuss digital education in a form that is accessible to listeners around the world. Sound production can embrace informal roundtables as well as carefully crafted aural essays that represent the final product of a researcher's project. Platforms like Cowbird and Soundcloud  and Zeenga showcase home- and studio-made audio that could easily incorporate scholarly work.


My original inspiration comes from working at KZSU-Stanford as a news producer and contributor to the Peninsula Report show. The collaborative environment of the radio station - working with producers, engineers, special guests, CDs, and digital content - was a far cry from the isolation of my library carrel where I work on my dissertation. The success of themed roundtable radio broadcasts of historians in France (see link below to La fabrique de l'histoire) made me wonder why there wasn't an equivalent forum for historians in the US. Then Backstory with the American History Guys popped onto my radar, and I began to dig deeper for other examples of humanities-related content being produced in the audio world. I think of this wiki as research for the future development of a web site that aggregates audio content related to the higher ed, and more specifically, to the humanities, world. It also sheds light on what academic disciplines/fields are being covered and those that have little to no audio presence. 


Please feel free to comment below or contact me at


List of Radio shows and podcasts (current and archived):

How to do History on the Radio

American History

European History

World History

Environmental History

Design/Urban History

Digital Humanities (Research and Pedagogy)

Literature and Culture


Activist History

History of Radio

Misc Scholarly Podcast

Sound, Sound Studies

Humanities Centers/Departments w/SoundCloud or iTunesU collections



What a great resource, Katherine! I've added a link to a the temporary home page (they're in the middle of revamping their home page) of the Humanities StoryCorps, a podcast project at the University of Iowa that seeks to promote dialogue between the university and the wider community about the value of the humanities.


This is great! Thanks for contributing. I wasn't aware of this program at Iowa, and it is a great endeavor to take away the lessons of documentary radio and apply them to narrating history. I'm really struck by the similarities between documentary radio programming (like the the kind taught at SALT, the Center for Documentary Studies @ Duke, or the Transom Story Workshops) and the narratives that historians use in their work. As a mix of oral history, archival sound, and narration, documentary radio gives historians - and all humanities scholars - an opportunity to move beyond the page and the written word to present historical research in a widely accessible audio format. The StoryCorps documentation project (which I assume was the inspiration for Iowa's program?) has been collecting "stories" for almost a decade. What will happen when we begin to narrate history and not just stories? What happens when we record research results and not just evidence?


Hi Katherine - thank you for sharing these resources... I'm looking forward to exploring them.

You might be familiar with this source already, but I feel that The Salt Institute for Documentary Studies does absolutely incredible work in training radio storytellers.

Their podcast has fallen off the PRX site over time, but I feel that their content does apply to the collective work that we're doing.  Tracing their alumni and faculty has always proven fruitful and inspiring.




Thanks, Paul - I'm a fan of PRX (Howsound is also fascinating) and SALT. I'm toying with the idea of signing up for one of the available workshops on audio documentary production - either at SALT, Transom, or Duke's Center for Documentary Studies.


Y'all are probably more than familiar with these names, but I thought I'd chime in anyways...

Many of the major projects grew out of the work of:

Scott Carrier


Jay Allison


Third Coast International Audio Festival

(Johanna Zorn, Julie Shaprio, Katie Mingle, Gwen Macsai)


Vice TV

Also, this is away from audio (and at times, far away from good taste), but Vice TV has been doing outstanding and controversial work for years.  I find their reporting to be some of the best in the world.  Embedded reporting from some of the world's most dangerous places and silly/crazed stories from other parts of the globe.  They honestly make the rest of the media look really, really bad.