Ideas for May 2017

Highlights this month include: The Rise of the Extreme Right in France" (May 2 & 5) -- Philip Coulter reports on the French presidential election; and "Bringing Up Fur Baby" (May 30) -- Kelley Jo Burke explores our relationship with animals.

Monday, May 1
Our monthly Monday night feature with Michael Enright, host of The Sunday Edition, in conversation with some of the most original and influential thinkers of our time.

Tuesday, May 2
LIBERTY LEADING THE PEOPLE: the rise of the extreme right in France, Part 2
The famous painting by Delacroix shows a triumphant Liberté, with a French flag, urging her army towards us, the viewers. We can either join them, or flee. The painting celebrates the July revolution of 1830, and since then Liberté herself has become an enduring icon of France. As the French pick a new president, it's the extreme right and the Front National with their candidate Marine Le Pen, which might well lead the French out of Europe and shut the door to immigrants. The second of Philip Coulter's three-part  series. Part 3 airs Friday, May 5.

Wednesday, May 3
ECOLOGY OF SOUND: Hildegard Westerkamp
Soundscape composer Hildegard Westerkamp hears the world differently than most people. Where many of us might hear noise, she uncovers extraordinary beauty and meaning. It's all in how we listen to our environment. Paul Kennedy joins Hildegard Westerkamp on a sound-walk through Vancouver's downtown eastside, and explores how opening our ears to our surroundings can open our minds.

Thursday, May 4
MARCONI: The Man Who Networked the World
Our phones, our laptops, even our cars communicate invisibly through the air. Our wireless world owes thanks to an Italian teenager who went on to win the Nobel Prize and changed how wars were fought. But Guglielmo Marconi also supported the rise of Italian fascism. McGill professor Marc Raboy has just published a major biography of Marconi and he takes producer David Gutnick on a tour of Marconi's influences in Montreal.

Friday, May 5
GENERATION IDENTITAIRE: the rise of the extreme right in France, Part 3
The loudest people supporting Marine Le Pen are the young.  Unemployed and disaffected, they're rejecting the elites that have failed them and embraced an old mantra: France for the French. What that means, and what it will mean to be French in the future, are what this election is all about. Forty percent of young people are behind Marine Le Pen, and they aren't going away; the extreme Right is on the rise again. 


Monday, May 8
For 438 days, Mohamed Fahmy was locked away in an Egyptian jail, including solitary confinement in the brutal Scorpion wing of Cairo's Tora Prison, living side-by-side with members of the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda and ISIS. He was accused of being a terrorist, when in fact, he was simply being a journalist. The Egyptian-Canadian's arrest, trials and eventual release in 2015, garnered international attention.

Tuesday, May 9
For decades, global affairs have been moulded by ideas about the mutual benefits of an interdependent world.  But the pillars of liberal internationalism are cracking under the rise of nationalist politics and other challenges.  Is this the beginning of the end of the liberal international order?  In a head-to-head Munk Debate, historian Niall Ferguson says Yes, the old order is collapsing, while commentator Fareed Zakaria argues No, there's life yet in liberal ideals

Wednesday, May 10
SURVIVING POST-CAPITALISM: Coping, hoping, doping & shopping
The signs are troubling: the ever-widening chasm between the ultra-rich and everyone else. Mass protests. Political upheaval and social division. It looks as though the rocky marriage between capitalism and democracy is doomed, at least according to Wolfgang Streeck, who directs the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, where he is also a professor of sociology. In conversation with Paul Kennedy about his book How Will Capitalism End?, he makes the unnerving case that capitalism is now at a point where it cannot survive itself.

Thursday, May 11
DUST TO DUST: Notes on rituals for the dead
Death: in a split second our cousin, our friend, an acquaintance has changed from one thing into another. It was a living creature. Suddenly it is a startling and bewildering and disquieting object: a corpse. What is it? What are we to do with it?

Friday, May 12
DECODING DEATH: The Science and Significance of Near Death Experiences
People have reported "near death experiences", or NDE's, over centuries and across cultures. The nature of them has historically been the territory of religion and philosophy. But now science has staked its claim in the discussion. And the questions are profound: where is consciousness produced, in the brain, or somewhere else? Can consciousness continue to exist even after the heart and brain have stopped working? Contributor Ashley Walters explores the science and the meaning of near death experiences.

Monday, May 15
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.

Tuesday, May 16
THE SELF-TAUGHT PHILOSOPHER:  How a 900-year-old Arabic Tale Inspired the Enlightenment
Our contemporary values and ideals are generally seen as the product of the Enlightenment. Individual rights, independent thinking, empiricism and rationalism are traced to the debates and discussions held by the great European thinkers of the 17th and 18th century: Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, and Kant among others. But these thinkers owe a debt to a figure from twelfth century Spain: a philosopher-physician named Ibn Tufayl who wrote a story called Hayy ibn Yaqzan -- which may be the most important story you've never heard.    

Wednesday, May 17
It's been 20 years since a midriff-baring California cheerleader leapt onto our television screens and became a riveting woman warrior - slaying vampires, demons and monsters.  Her fantastical enemies were subversive metaphors for a corrupt and authoritarian culture.  Today, Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains the most-studied show in television history.  IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell revisits the legacy of "Buffyworld".  

Thursday, May 18
Toronto CBC radio host Matt Galloway talks with architect Sir David Adjaye, visual artist Christi Belcourt, author Junot Díaz and filmmaker Paul Gross. The group met onstage at Toronto's Massey Hall as part of the Creative Minds series, produced in partnership with CBC, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the Banff Centre and Massey Hall. Their focus: current global politics and how art shapes our understanding of place, history and progress.

Friday, May 19
How do we know when we've won? Some people argue that World War One was just the opening act for the Second World War, and perhaps World War Three is just around the corner. And what about wars of ideology? The Soviet Union doesn't seem to be dead yet, and nor is Communism. Even if we defeat ISIS, does that mean the idea of an Islamic state is finished? Stephen Toope, Janice Stein and Hugh Segal in conversation from the Stratford Festival. 


Monday, May 22 
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. This episode is the latest in our series Ideas from the Trenches, showcasing innovative work of PhD students across the country. 

Tuesday, May 23
Work can't help but be affected when people spend almost as much time commuting as they spend on the job. How can a stressful commute impact a person's professional performance? What does it ultimately do to family life, or social engagements? Another episode in our ongoing series on work-related mobility issues looks at the terrible experience of Toronto commuters.

Wednesday, May 24
In 2002, a 15-year-old boy was caught by American forces in Afghanistan after a firefight, and imprisoned in Guantanamo for the next 13 years. The boy was Omar Khadr, and his then little-known lawyer was Dennis Edney from Edmonton. From the Stratford Festival, Dennis Edney talks with Paul Kennedy about a life-changing experience that contains a challenge for us all.

Thursday, May 25
WRITING IN WORRIED TIMES: GG Award winners share their anxieties
They may be successful writers, but that doesn't mean the 2016 Governor General's Literary Award winners are immune from worry about the world around us. Five authors share some brand new work on that theme, and explain how they grapple with the cultural issues that make them most anxious. Presented by IDEAS and CBC Books, with the Canada Council for the Arts.

Friday, May 26
It seems the idea of public service journalism is under fire everywhere. So three major public broadcasters came together to talk about their collective future at a forum held in Toronto by the Canadian Journalism Foundation: Jennifer McGuire, general manager and editor-in-chief of CBC News, James Harding, director of news and current affairs for the BBC, and Michael Oreskes, senior vice-president of news and editorial director for NPR. The discussion was moderated by Simon Houpt, senior media writer with The Globe and Mail.


Monday, May 29
HISTORY DERAILED: Understanding the Messy Middle East
The Arab Spring was supposed to be a turning point for the Arab Middle East. And it was, but history appears to have taken a wrong turn. Again. American journalist Robert F. Worth joins Paul Kennedy in conversation about his book, A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS. Worth is this year's winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize.

Tuesday, May 30
BRINGING UP FURBABY: The evolution from family pet to pet family
There are now more pets than children in North American homes, and lavish dog beds and catnip mice are taking the place of bassinets and rattles. Is this turn from traditional to furry families simply a passing fad, or a response to the stresses of modern life?  Or the natural evolution of our relationship with animals? Kelley Jo Burke explores what we're really saying about who we are and what we need, when we start bringing up 'furbabies.'

Wednesday, May 31
In 1876, the poet Stephane Mallarme published a poem entitled The Afternoon of a Faun. He doubted anyone could set it to music successfully. But composer Claude Debussy did exactly that. The music runs only about nine minutes long, but it helped give birth to the modern era as we know it. Contributor Robert Harris and Tafelmusik's Ivars Taurins bring us inside the magic of Debussy's imagining.


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