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IDEAS PUBLIC EVENT

Public Ally Number 1: A talk by Sue Gardner

IDEAS presents "Public Ally Number 1", a talk by Sue Gardner, with host Paul Kennedy, followed by a Q&A. Friday, May 25 at The Glenn Gould Theatre in Toronto.

The Restaurant: A Table Divided

There's a lot more happening at a restaurant than simply ordering from a menu and getting your food. Restaurants are sites of self-expression — spaces in which status and distinction are performed and lines between class, race, and gender are reflected and reinforced. Contributing producers Michelle Macklem and Zoe Tennant explore how we've gone from dining in to dining out, and what dining out reveals about our identities.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

The verdict on Sir John A. Macdonald: Guilty or innocent?

As celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday continue to fade into the background, the controversy around Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy continues to build. This special episode of Ideas puts Canada's first Prime Minister on trial for 'crimes against humanity.'

Enlightenment Now: Why Steven Pinker believes in progress

It may be tempting to think human civilization is on the verge of collapse: environmental degradation, the rise in authoritarianism, ballooning income disparities. But Harvard psychologist and linguist Steven Pinker is having none of it. He argues that the Enlightenment has given us so much that we can hardly see it anymore. And he believes it's now time to champion Enlightenment values once again: rationality, verifiability, and above all: the ideal of progress itself.

The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 2: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed. But it was a failure that changed the world. Part 2 of a 3-part series. Part 3 airs May 24, 2018.

Islamist Persistence, Part 1: The rise and reality of political Islam

It’s a provocative argument among Islamic Scholars: was Islam founded on political principles? Is the rise of Islamism, after the Arab Spring, a natural evolution in Muslim- dominated countries? Many would say no. But author Shadi Hamid, an American Muslim and self-described liberal, says the rise of Islamist parties is inevitable.

Creating Conscience, Part 1: A history of treating the psychopath

The mystery of the psychopath. A human riddle that has haunted and stumped us for centuries. Is the psychopath mad or just plain bad? Evil and beyond redemption, or potentially treatable?
Ideas Afternoon

The 'trial' of Sir John A. Macdonald: Would he be guilty of war crimes today?

As celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday continue to fade into the background, the controversy around Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy continues to build. This special episode of Ideas puts Canada's first Prime Minister on trial for 'crimes against humanity.'

On Tyranny: 20 lessons from the 20th century

Authoritarianism is on the rise around the world. And Timothy Snyder wants to push back against this tide. A history professor at Yale University who's written widely on Europe and the Holocaust, he takes an unusual approach in his little book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.

How Cold War anxiety and citizen science fuelled Canada's massive UFO report files

Researcher Matthew Hayes is looking into nearly 15,000 pages of documents detailing UFO sightings. He hopes to learn more about what these sightings, and the obsessive documentation of them, say about the nature of science and observation.

The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 1: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed. But it was a failure that changed the world. Part 1 of a 3-part series. Part 2 airs May 24, 2018.

Making Marco Polo

Almost everything we think we know about Marco Polo - traveller, explorer, the man who brought the wonders of the East to the West - is being questioned. Tony Luppino searches for the real man and story behind the legendary wanderer, and discovers someone even more interesting and unexpected.

Starving out resistance: Anne Applebaum on Stalin's deliberate famine in Ukraine

Paul Kennedy in conversation with historian Anne Applebaum, winner of the 2018 Lionel Gelber Prize. The journalist and academic won the prestigious nonfiction award for her book, "Red Famine". It tells the story of how Stalin's collective farming policies in the early 1930s induced starvation among 3 million Ukrainian peasants. The book argues that this act was no byproduct of bad policy decisions, but instead a deliberate effort to crush Ukrainian nationalism and resistance —with repercussions that extend into our own era of Russian-Ukrainian tensions.

Philosophy outside the Ivory Tower

As universities come under increasing pressure to prove their economic value — to both students and the business world — the humanities seem to be the first things put on the chopping block. And more than most disciplines, a philosophy degree is considered to be of dubious value. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, we revisit interviews with thinkers who make the case for philosophy’s enduring relevance, particularly as our lives and our society becomes more enmeshed in technology.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

How humankind is on the verge of transforming itself: Yuval Harari

In his book "Homo Deus", Yuval Harari argues that humankind is on the verge of transforming itself: advances creating networked intelligences will surpass our own in speed, capability and impact. But where will this leave us? Will we be enslaved by algorithms we can scarcely understand? Or will we incorporate these advances and become like gods? He joins host Paul Kennedy in conversation.
Ideas

Writer Heather O'Neill finds wisdom in an eccentric father's advice

Acclaimed writer Heather O'Neill's father was a janitor, but listed his occupation as professor of philosophy, and he offered a series of unusual rules for life as she grew up in Montreal. In her Henry Kreisel Lecture at the Canadian Literature Centre in Edmonton, and in conversation, she talks about unexpected muses and mentors, being a 'problem' reader, and how some idiosyncratic lessons prepared her to cross the class divide.

May '68: A Tale of Four Cities

The student-led protests of May 1968 on the streets of Paris dominated the news of the day and have since entered the realm of popular mythology. Contributor David Zane Mairowitz was there. He was, as he puts it, an observer-participant, documenting the myth as it was being made -- not only in Paris, but in other epicentres of protest: San Francisco, New York, London. The exhilaration and the revolutionary fervour also had a darker, violent side, he shows. In the end, May 1968 was as much about social change as it was a publicity stunt for itself.

Taming The Beast: Are violent urges part of men's nature?

And if they are, what do we do about it? How does a just society reconcile the desire for peace, with the desire, felt more often by men, to commit acts of violence? How much does nature stir boys, and men, to fight? And to what extent can they control that urge? Author Daemon Fairless takes IDEAS producer Mary Lynk on a road trip to try and unlock why some men are drawn to violence. They meet up with a science teacher, an MMA fighter, and a serial killer, who are profiled in his new book "Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men. "
ideas

Go with the flow: Using nature to help fight climate change

Our climate is changing and because of it, our oceans and rivers are rising. In the past, we used large, man-made infrastructure to keep the water at bay. But maybe instead of trying to fight off nature, we should start working with it. Ideas contributor Anik See explores projects across The Netherlands, in northern Spain, and in New Orleans.

El Sistema: How the power of music helped change Venezuelan lives

In 1975 the Venezuelan economist and musician Jose Antonio Abreu started an after-school music programme for street kids in Caracas. El Sistema became a revolutionary movement that has transformed the lives of hundreds of thousands of children- and also helped create a few generations of musicians and a nation of music lovers.

Old Masters: Decoding prehistoric art with Jean Clottes

The songs and stories of prehistoric humans are gone. All that remains of their culture is their art. It's the one thing that can bridge the vast, silent chasm of time between then and now. IDEAS contributor Neil Sandell introduces us to the French archaeologist Jean Clottes, a man who’s devoted his lifetime trying to decipher the rich, enigmatic world of cave art.
Ideas

Miss Understanding and Miss Behaviour

Is drag a mockery of femininity, an earnest tribute, or something else entirely? Willow Yamauchi, a drag queen's daughter, unpacks her father's gowns, secrets, and illusions, and works through his little black book to find his answers — and her own.

Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are manipulating our lives and threatening our democracy

The internet began with great hope that it would strengthen democracy. Initially, social media movements seemed to be disrupting corrupt institutions. But the web no longer feels free and open, and the disenfranchised are feeling increasingly pessimistic. Dr. Taylor Owen argues that the reality of the internet is now largely one of control, by four platform companies Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple — worth a combined $2.7 trillion — and their impact on democracy is deeply troubling.

Seed Banks: Re-sowing paradise

In the face of climate change and declining biodiversity, one of humanity's oldest cultural practices – seed saving – has a new urgency. Maria Zytaruk explores how preserving seeds reflects the deepest of human fears and hopes, whether it's done in a high-tech seed bank in Britain, or a simple storage closet lined with jars at a convent in Kingston.

Travels through Trump's America one year later

It’s been one year since Donald Trump’s inauguration. His official swearing-in compelled many Americans reflect on what America actually is now, politically, socially and culturally. Contributor David Zane Mairowitz is originally from America, and has been living in Europe for over fifty years. He returned to the U.S. in the spring of 2017 to travel through six southern states, where he recorded his encounters with everyday people at restaurants, churches -- and gun shows. His aim: to gain insight into an America he’s now struggling to comprehend.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

The verdict on Sir John A. Macdonald: Guilty or innocent?

As celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday continue to fade into the background, the controversy around Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy continues to build. This special episode of Ideas puts Canada's first Prime Minister on trial for 'crimes against humanity.'
Ideas Afternoon

The 'trial' of Sir John A. Macdonald: Would he be guilty of war crimes today?

As celebrations of Canada's 150th birthday continue to fade into the background, the controversy around Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy continues to build. This special episode of Ideas puts Canada's first Prime Minister on trial for 'crimes against humanity.'

On Tyranny: 20 lessons from the 20th century

Authoritarianism is on the rise around the world. And Timothy Snyder wants to push back against this tide. A history professor at Yale University who's written widely on Europe and the Holocaust, he takes an unusual approach in his little book, On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.
Ideas

Writer Heather O'Neill finds wisdom in an eccentric father's advice

Acclaimed writer Heather O'Neill's father was a janitor, but listed his occupation as professor of philosophy, and he offered a series of unusual rules for life as she grew up in Montreal. In her Henry Kreisel Lecture at the Canadian Literature Centre in Edmonton, and in conversation, she talks about unexpected muses and mentors, being a 'problem' reader, and how some idiosyncratic lessons prepared her to cross the class divide.

Travels through Trump's America one year later

It’s been one year since Donald Trump’s inauguration. His official swearing-in compelled many Americans reflect on what America actually is now, politically, socially and culturally. Contributor David Zane Mairowitz is originally from America, and has been living in Europe for over fifty years. He returned to the U.S. in the spring of 2017 to travel through six southern states, where he recorded his encounters with everyday people at restaurants, churches -- and gun shows. His aim: to gain insight into an America he’s now struggling to comprehend.