PhD students spend years hunting for answers to the world's unanswered questions. They usually toil away in obscurity.... until now! Producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic shine a light on these emerging thinkers and their work.

Past Episodes

  • Monday May 22, 2017

    Ideas from the trenches - referendums

    Yes and No: The problem of bad referendums

    From Brexit to Turkey, the use of referendums is on the rise around the world. They're seen as a way of getting politicians and experts out of the way to let 'the people' decide on major policy decisions, and making democracy work more directly. Leah Trueblood is a PhD student at Oxford University. She warns that ill-conceived referendums are actually dangerous for democracies.

    Posted: May 22, 2017 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: May 22, 2017 8:25 AM ET
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  • Thursday March 23, 2017

    Return of Michif Boy

    Return of the Michif Boy: Confronting Métis trauma

    PhD student Jesse Thistle was once a high school drop-out who spent more than a decade in and out of homeless shelters, consumed by drug and alcohol addiction. By reconnecting with his birth mother and spending time with his Métis elders he came to understand the effects of intergenerational trauma. His award-winning historical research shines a light on the struggles and the resilience of Métis 'road-side allowance' communities in northern Saskatchewan.

    Posted: Mar 23, 2017 10:42 AM ET
    Last Updated: Mar 24, 2017 5:11 PM ET
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  • Monday February 27, 2017

    Ideas from the Trenches - Refuge - Child Refugee

    Ideas from the Trenches - Refuge

    The sense of a moral duty to give refuge to a stranger in need resonates across human cultures and deep into our history. However, as PhD students Kiran Banerjee and Craig Damian Smith argue, the values of the nation state can clash with our profound moral beliefs, creating big problems when we try to apply and honour international human rights. To get beyond this clash, they propose a radical re-thinking of the institutions that shape how nations respond to the voices of refugees.

    Posted: Feb 27, 2017 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 26, 2015 4:27 PM ET
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  • Wednesday November 30, 2016

    Ideas from the Trenches-The Dangerous Game

    The Dangerous Game: Gamergate and the "alt-right"

    Emma Vossen’s love of gaming started when she was a kid growing up in small-town Ontario. Now as a PhD candidate at the University of Waterloo Games Institute, she looks to gamer culture as a microcosm of how sexism is seeded and replicated within broader society, and she draws connections between gamer culture and the rise of the political extreme right.

    Posted: Nov 30, 2016 10:08 AM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 30, 2016 3:32 PM ET
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  • Wednesday November 09, 2016

    trenches-democracy

    Ideas from the Trenches - Too Dumb for Democracy

    Producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic meet University of British Columbia student David Moscrop. He argues that modern democracy just isn't built right for our brains. and so it dooms us into dumb thinking. He's got an idea for fixing that.

    Posted: Nov 09, 2016 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Nov 09, 2016 5:08 PM ET
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  • Thursday October 06, 2016

    Ideas from the Trenches -  Chimp Parenting

    Ideas from the Trenches - The Post-Modern Chimpanzee's Guide to Parenting

    Evolutionary anthropologist and University of Toronto PhD student Iulia Badescu spent a year camped out in a Ugandan jungle to observe chimp parenting. She noticed behaviours that didn't quite fit the way chimp parenting has traditionally been documented. And that observation shifted her gaze towards scientists themselves, and how they tend to filter what they see based on their own cultural assumptions. She turns to philosophers Nietzsche and Derrida who encourage her to examine the strengths and limitations of anthropology, including her own research.

    Posted: Oct 06, 2016 12:29 PM ET
    Last Updated: Oct 06, 2016 3:22 PM ET
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  • Tuesday July 19, 2016

    Trenches - Linguicide #1

    Ideas from the Trenches - Undoing Linguicide

    Lorena Fontaine is battling to revive aboriginal languages -- languages that have been quashed and brought to the brink of extinction by Canada's residential school system. She is completing her PhD at the University of Manitoba, and argues that Canadian indigenous communities have a legal right to the survival of language. For her, it's a race against time that must not be lost.

    Posted: Jul 19, 2016 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Apr 11, 2016 12:12 PM ET
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  • Tuesday July 12, 2016

    Ideas from the Trenches - Crazy in Love

    Ideas from the Trenches - Crazy in Love

    Falling in love. Over the moon. Love-struck. These tropes are embedded in both high and popular culture. PhD student Elissa Gurman finds that the crazy-woman-in-love narrative captured in 19th century novels ended in two ways: thankless marriage or death. She also argues that the depictions found in these novels continue to have widespread repercussions today.

    Posted: Jul 12, 2016 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Jan 28, 2016 11:09 AM ET
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  • Tuesday July 05, 2016

    Ideas from the Trenches - Just trying to help

    Ideas from the Trenches - Just Trying to Help

    There are 50,000 PhD candidates in Canada, toiling away in relative obscurity, immersing themselves in fascinating research that rarely sees the light of day. In this episode, producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic meet recent Western University PhD graduate Marylynn Steckley. She spent six years in Haiti, learning about the effects of slavery, colonialism and racism, and finding inspiration in an emerging peasant movement.

    Posted: Jul 05, 2016 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Jul 05, 2016 11:16 AM ET
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  • Wednesday May 04, 2016

    Ideas from the Trenches - Open Mind

    Ideas from the Trenches - The Open Mind

    New scientific tools are opening windows into what goes on inside another person's mind. People who'd once have been judged 'vegetative' or 'lacking awareness', might now be able to show they're 'still there', and ultimately communicate with the outside world through a brain scan. Philosophy PhD student Andrew Peterson is embedded with scientists at the Brain and Mind Institute at Western University and considers the ethical and moral questions emerging from this cutting edge research.

    Posted: May 04, 2016 2:16 PM ET
    Last Updated: May 04, 2016 1:49 PM ET
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  • Friday August 28, 2015

    Ideas from the Trenches - Why We Obey

    Ideas from the Trenches - Why We Obey

    As part of our continuing series turning a young scholar's work into radio, Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic profile Serbulent Turan, an emerging political scientist at the University of British Columbia. He is asking why people willingly put up with oppression and -- on the flip side -- what's needed to spark a revolution.

    Posted: Aug 28, 2015 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Aug 28, 2015 8:42 AM ET
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  • Friday August 21, 2015

    Ideas from the Trenches - Out of Habit

    Ideas from the Trenches - Force of Habit

    There are 50,000 PhD candidates in Canada, toiling away on things their friends and families often don't understand. Part of our continuing series turning a young scholar's work into radio, Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic meet Kristin Rodier -- a newly minted philosophy PhD at the University of Alberta. She studies how we think about habit. Habits are normally understood as either virtue or vice, but as a philosopher she looks at what happens when those habits are disrupted with an eye to social change.

    Posted: Aug 21, 2015 12:00 AM ET
    Last Updated: Aug 21, 2015 8:21 AM ET
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  • Wednesday August 20, 2014

    trenches-education-gap

    Ideas from the Trenches - The Education Gap

    There are about 50,000 PhD candidates in Canada, toiling away for years in relative obscurity. This is the second of an occasional series which attempts to turn their research into an hour of radio. In this episode, producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic follow the work of PhD student Kimberley Tavares. Initially driven to understand why a disproportionate number...

    Posted: Aug 20, 2014 12:00 AM ET read comments
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  • Wednesday August 13, 2014

    trenches-living-dead-featur

    Ideas from the Trenches - The Living Dead

    There are about 50,000 PhD candidates in Canada. Most of them toil away for years in relative obscurity. This is the debut of an occasional series which tries to turn their research into an hour of radio. In this episode, producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic follow the work of PhD student Myriam Nafte, who studies the circulation and...

    Posted: Aug 13, 2014 12:00 AM ET read comments
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  • Thursday June 05, 2014

    trenches-3-featured

    Ideas from the Trenches: The Theatre of News

    There are about 50,000 PhD candidates in Canada, toiling away for years in relative obscurity. This is the third episode in our series that attempts to turn their research into an hour of radio. In this episode, producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic follow the work of McGill University post-doctoral student Stephen Wittek. He studies how theatrical plays in Elizabethan...

    Posted: Jun 05, 2014 12:00 AM ET read comments
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Ideas Schedule