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Ideas from CBC Radio (Highlights)

Ideas is all about ideas and programs that explore everything from culture and the arts to science and technology to social issues.

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Common Good | Declaration for the Independence of the Mind

In 1919, Romain Rolland wrote the Declaration of the Independence of the Mind as a call to intellectuals to rise above division, censorship and nationalism of their day. Nahlah Ayed speaks to Canadian and international thinkers to consider the role of the intellectual today, and to rewrite the declaration for our own post-truth moment. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

Download Common Good | Declaration for the Independence of the Mind
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The Dandy Rebel

Over the last two centuries, the figure of the Dandy has been a provocateur, someone who pushes against the boundaries of culture, masculinity and politics. From Beau Brummell to Oscar Wilde to contemporary Black activists, IDEAS contributor Pedro Mendes tracks the subversive role the Dandy plays in challenging the status quo.

Download The Dandy Rebel
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Love on Drugs

As the science of love comes into greater focus, researchers are beginning to explore potential drug treatments for everything from heartbreak to PTSD in relationships. But for traditionalists, romantic love is ineffable, even spiritual — and certainly not to be tampered with by doctors. IDEAS teases out the complicated relationship between chemicals and romance — and ask how drugs could reshape the future of love.

Download Love on Drugs
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Common Good | The World Turned Upside Down, Part Two

Perhaps no question is more important than this one: what is the common good? What can we agree on that benefits us all? IDEAS looks to the English Civil Wars from the 17th century when great questions of the common good were rediscovered, argued, and fought over changing England — and the world — forever. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

Download Common Good | The World Turned Upside Down, Part Two
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The Rise of the Glorified Spinster

Throughout history, single women have been vilified, ostracized and shamed. And while there are more single-person households in Canada than ever before, that lingering stigma still follows the single woman. CBC producer Alison Cook explores the social history of these ‘deviant’ women in her documentary, The Rise of the Glorified Spinster. *Originally aired on May 21, 2020.

Download The Rise of the Glorified Spinster
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Common Good | What If This Gets Bigger?

The rules for behaving well in a society arguably depend on the size of that society. The structures, institutions and even the logic behind human co-operation change along the axes of space, population, and time. From camping trips to climate change conferences, IDEAS examines why scale matters so much to conversations about the common good. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

Download Common Good | What If This Gets Bigger?
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Common Good | Why Don’t We Live Together?

Many people are priced out of the urban housing market. Others are disenchanted with the four walls of the single family home. From a San Francisco commune network to co-living communities in Berlin, advocates argue the benefits of sharing domestic space. *This is an episode from our series, The Common Good.

Download Common Good | Why Don’t We Live Together?
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Common Good | The Value of Old Age

IDEAS producer Mary Lynk explores what is the purpose of a long life? Traditional cultures often place older people at the top of social hierarchy, but in modern Western societies there's been a profound loss of meaning and vital social roles for older adults. What happened? And what role can we reimagine for older people now? *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

Download Common Good | The Value of Old Age
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What is Common? And What is Good?

The Haitian Revolution of 1791 gave birth to ideas about Black liberation and the common good that went on to inform freedom struggles throughout the Black Atlantic. IDEAS traces that lineage and how it connects to today's Black Lives Matter movement. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

Download What is Common? And What is Good?
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Common Good | The World Turned Upside Down, Part One

Perhaps no question is more important than this one: what is the common good? What can we agree on that benefits us all? IDEAS looks to the English Civil Wars from the 17th century when great questions of the common good were rediscovered, argued, and fought over changing England — and the world — forever. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

Download Common Good | The World Turned Upside Down, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Shakespeare's Richard III shows us how to resist tyranny

In Richard III, Shakespeare shows us how easy it is to fall under the spell of a tyrant. IDEAS explore the parallels between Richard III and the Trump era, and the play’s eerily prescient lessons about complicity, conscience and speaking truth to power.

Download Shakespeare's Richard III shows us how to resist tyranny
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The Greenest Metaphor

Some people describe it as a war. To others, it’s a race. Maybe it’s a sickness that needs to be cured, or a puzzle that needs to be solved. There are a lot of metaphors for the fight against climate change, and picking the right one might be the key to making real progress.

Download The Greenest Metaphor
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Environmentalists: what are we fighting for? An environmentalist argues it's not clear

Environmental problems are well-known and have been for decades, so why are we still edging towards a global catastrophe? Environmentalist Graham Saul believes it comes down to a message problem — mainly because environmentalism doesn’t have a single, coherent, unified message that people can grasp. *This episode originally aired on November 23, 2018.

Download Environmentalists: what are we fighting for? An environmentalist argues it's not clear
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The Past is Present: The Problem of Presentism

The stories that make up the history of a nation and the account of its birth are increasingly contested, and newer narratives are being pitted against the old. What is the role and responsibility of the historian in managing the chaos and keeping scholarship above the fray of political wrangling?

Download The Past is Present: The Problem of Presentism
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CBC Massey Lecture #6: Retreat, Reform, Restraint

In his 2020 CBC Massey Lectures, Citizen Lab founder and director Ron Deibert wants to get us thinking about how best to mitigate the harms of social media, and in doing so, construct a viable communications ecosystem that supports civil society and contributes to the betterment of the human condition (instead of the opposite). *This episode originally aired on November 16, 2020.

Download CBC Massey Lecture #6: Retreat, Reform, Restraint
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CBC Massey Lecture # 5: Burning Data

What we don’t see — because it is so carefully hidden from the public eye — is the ecological impact of our social media usage and the wasteful consumption loop we’re trapped in, as we’re pushed to constantly upgrade our devices and turn simple electronics and appliances into “smart” machines. *This episode originally aired on November 13, 2020.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 5: Burning Data
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CBC Massey Lecture # 4: A Great Leap Forward...For The Abuse Of Power

The initial vision of the internet was that it would empower individuals and expose the wrongdoings of state and corporate interests. But now the same technologies that had been used for public uprisings against oppressive governments are now being used by those governments against political demonstrators, whistleblowers and dissidents. *This episode originally aired on November 12, 2020.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 4: A Great Leap Forward...For The Abuse Of Power
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CBC Massey Lecture # 3: Toxic Addiction Machines

Everyone loves to hate social media, but there's a real reason it seems impossible to quit. And you might not like it. In the third instalment of the Massey Lectures, Ron Deibert exposes how social media platforms are engineered to be "addiction machines." *This episode originally aired on November 11, 2020.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 3: Toxic Addiction Machines
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CBC Massey Lecture # 2: The Market for Our Minds

The ads that personalize our internet browsing are obvious examples of how "attention merchants" vie for our data, but the more insidious actors are the ones we don't see. In his second CBC Massey Lecture, Ron Deibert explores "the economic engine that underlies social media: the personal data surveillance economy" and what is called "surveillance capitalism." *This episode originally aired on November 10, 2020.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 2: The Market for Our Minds
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CBC Massey Lecture # 1: Look At That Device In Your Hand

There's a problem with that device in your hand — your phone that makes you anxious when it's not near. Renowned tech expert Ron Deibert says that needs to change. The 2020 Massey Lecturer suggests we need a 'reset' and in his first lecture, Deibert sketches out the layered problem — and how he sees a way forward. *This episode originally aired on November 9, 2020.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 1: Look At That Device In Your Hand
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Black Myths on Screen: Hollywood and a Century of Race, Part Three

Since its beginnings, Hollywood has portrayed African Americans in a variety of ways: as primitive beings in Birth of a Nation, as happy former slaves in Gone With the Wind, as an earnest gentleman in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and as hypersexual heroes during the 1970s "blaxploitation" era. Filmmaker Julie Dash says, "it's like we were props in their movies." In this three-part series, IDEAS explores a century of racial politics in Hollywood.

Download Black Myths on Screen: Hollywood and a Century of Race, Part Three
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Black Myths on Screen: Hollywood and a Century of Race, Part Two

Since its beginnings, Hollywood has portrayed African Americans in a variety of ways: as primitive beings in Birth of a Nation, as happy former slaves in Gone With the Wind, as an earnest gentleman in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and as hypersexual heroes during the 1970s "blaxploitation" era. Filmmaker Julie Dash says, "it's like we were props in their movies." In this three-part series, IDEAS explores a century of racial politics in Hollywood.

Download Black Myths on Screen: Hollywood and a Century of Race, Part Two
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Black Myths on Screen: Hollywood and a Century of Race, Part One

Since its beginnings, Hollywood has portrayed African Americans in a variety of ways: as primitive beings in Birth of a Nation, as happy former slaves in Gone With the Wind, as an earnest gentleman in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, and as hypersexual heroes during the 1970s "blaxploitation" era. Filmmaker Julie Dash says, "it's like we were props in their movies." In this three-part series, IDEAS explores a century of racial politics in Hollywood.

Download Black Myths on Screen: Hollywood and a Century of Race, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Feminist City: Leslie Kearn

Historically, cities have been planned, designed, and built by men. Yet there has always been more than one kind of city resident. That's why consciousness is growing around making urban spaces more inclusive of others. Vienna, for instance, has improved safety and convenience for women through the design of its housing, parks, sidewalks and street lighting. Geographer and author Leslie Kern explains why a "feminist city" benefits us all, in this talk for Carleton University's Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism.

Download Feminist City: Leslie Kearn
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The First Good Poem in English

Several English-language literary works survive from the first millennium A.D. and it's still uncertain which is the oldest. However, a short elegy called The Wanderer stands out as English's oldest-surviving good poem, according to IDEAS producer Tom Howell. Experts in Old English help explain the appeal and the complexity of this ancient yet strangely accessible work.

Download The First Good Poem in English
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I Travel Therefore I Am: The Philosophy of Travel

Philosophy of travel isn't a thing, but philosopher Emily Thomas says it should be. As most of the world is grounded by COVID, we take a journey of the mind through the past and present to ask the question: what is the meaning of travel? How does it change us — and how does it help us understand our own minds?

Download I Travel Therefore I Am: The Philosophy of Travel
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Lessons of Doris Lessing, Part Two

Writer Doris Lessing grew up in white Southern Rhodesia where she became an astute observer of the ways ordinary people learn to cling to extreme beliefs. In her 1985 CBC Massey Lecture, the Nobel laureate shares her insights on identity politics, highlighting divisions we can still see all around us.

Download Lessons of Doris Lessing, Part Two
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Northrop Frye: The Educated Imagination Reconsidered (Pt. 2)

Northrop Frye viewed literature as a vast structure of the human imagination. He taught that imagination can broaden our beliefs and encourage tolerance. As readers, we are meant to ‘disappear’ into literature as a whole. But what happens to our bodies, our histories, and us as real individuals? *Originally aired on June 25, 2020.

Download Northrop Frye: The Educated Imagination Reconsidered (Pt. 2)
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Northrop Frye: Return to the Educated Imagination (Pt 1)

What good is the study of literature? Northrop Frye’s 1962 CBC Massey Lectures were his attempt to answer that age-old question. Frye scholar and friend Deanne Bogdan revisits the lectures and helps us map Northrop Frye’s expansive vision of literature, life, and human nature. *Originally aired on May 27, 2020.

Download Northrop Frye: Return to the Educated Imagination (Pt 1)
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On Property: Rinaldo Walcott

Rinaldo Walcott argues that the fight to abolish slavery is still unfinished — and that the ultimate project of abolition will require abolishing the idea of private property itself. He speaks with Nahlah Ayed about how a history of being bought and sold shapes Black people's relationship to the notion of property today.

Download On Property: Rinaldo Walcott
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Imagining Extinction

Religious and mythological visions of the end of the world may be common, but the scientific concept of human extinction has a more urgent history. IDEAS explores the link between imagining extinction and acting to avert it — from Mary Shelley's pandemic novel, The Last Man (1826), to visions of nuclear annihilation during the Cold War, to cli-fi (climate fiction) of today.

Download Imagining Extinction
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Ideas from the Trenches: The Resilience of Incarcerated Women

PhD student Rachel Fayter was incarcerated for more than three years. She draws from her experience and the relationships she formed in jail to inform her ‘groundbreaking’ research into the resilience of criminalized women. *This episode originally aired on September 24, 2020.

Download Ideas from the Trenches: The Resilience of Incarcerated Women
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Women and Machines: How technology has shaped gender roles

In her new book Work Mate Marry Love, Harvard professor Debora Spar argues that nearly all the decisions we make in our most intimate lives — whom we marry, how we have children, and how we build families — are driven by technology. She explains how these changes in technology have also affected the role of women in society throughout history.

Download Women and Machines: How technology has shaped gender roles
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Entre Chien et Loup: How Dogs Began

Scientists agree that dogs evolved from wolves and were the first domesticated animals. But exactly how that happened is hotly contested. IDEAS contributor Neil Sandell examines the theories and the evolution of the relationship between dogs and humans.

Download Entre Chien et Loup: How Dogs Began
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Pt 2: Rethinking Policing

*A warning, this episode contains descriptions of graphic violence.* In part two of our series looking at the role of police in society, IDEAS contributor Kyle G. Brown examines the use of police surveillance on citizens, the increased use of military tactics, and its struggles when responding to mental health emergencies.

Download Pt 2: Rethinking Policing
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Behind the Lines, Part Two

What kinds of responsibility does a Black writer have? Is it enough to just write whatever inspires you, or is there an obligation to take on the big questions of culture, class, colour? In part two of a two-part series, Black Canadian writers George Elliott Clarke, Afua Cooper and André Alexis discuss why they write and the importance of ‘home’ in their work.

Download Behind the Lines, Part Two
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BBC Reith Lectures: Mark Carney, Part Three

In our final episode of Mark Carney’s 2020 BBC Reith Lectures, the economist and former governor of the Banks of England and Canada, focuses on how the ultimate test of a more fair economy will be how it addresses the growing climate crisis.

Download BBC Reith Lectures: Mark Carney, Part Three
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BBC Reith Lectures: Mark Carney, Part Two

2020 BBC Reith Lecturer Mark Carney continues his lecture series entitled, ‘How We Get What We Value.’ In this episode, the former bank governor focuses on the 2008 financial crisis and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Download BBC Reith Lectures: Mark Carney, Part Two
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BBC Reith Lectures: Mark Carney, Part One

Mark Carney is the 2020 Reith Lecturer, the BBC’s flagship lecture series. In his lectures entitled, 'How We Get What We Value,' he argues the worlds of finance, economics, and politics have too often prioritized financial values, over human ones. The future depends on reversing that shift. In lecture one, he addresses the changing nature of value — and how we've come to equate 'value' to what is profitable.

Download BBC Reith Lectures: Mark Carney, Part One
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Beethoven's Scowl

Beethoven turned 250 this past year. Since his death, he’s been used as a symbol of big ideas, from liberalism to nationalism to manliness. This documentary examines the shifting image of Beethoven, and his malleability as a symbol. *This episode originally aired on September 21, 2020.

Download Beethoven's Scowl
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The Forever Protest

Some protests hit with lightning speed and bring quick change in dramatic ways. But often the push for change takes much longer — decades, even generations. The change comes not from dramatic events but from a slow transformation of people, of culture, and society itself. IDEAS contributor Guy Dixon looks at the perpetual protest.

Download The Forever Protest
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Behind the Lines, Part One

What kinds of responsibility does a Black writer have? Is it enough to just write whatever inspires you, or is there an obligation to take on the big questions of culture, class, colour? In part one of a two-part series, Black Canadian writers Canisia Lubrin, Nigel Thomas and Téa Mutonji discuss why they write and how they deal with the power — and the burden — of making art with language.

Download Behind the Lines, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Long Arm of Ayn Rand, Part Two

Ayn Rand's books, especially her two major works, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, continue to sell millions of copies. And her influence on politics and popular culture is stronger than ever. Contributor Sandy Bourque outlines the philosopher's improbable rise to fame and influence, and the surprising Canadian connection which helped secure her place in the history of ideas.

Download The Long Arm of Ayn Rand, Part Two
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The Long Arm of Ayn Rand, Part One

The intelligentsia mocked her writings and lampooned her philosophy, which she called Objectivism. But Ayn Rand's books, especially her two major works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, continue to sell millions of copies. There are Ayn Rand think tanks, academies, even dating sites. And her influence on politics and popular culture is stronger than ever. Contributor Sandy Bourque outlines Rand's improbable rise to fame and influence, and the surprising Canadian connection, which helped secure her place in the history of ideas. *This episode originally aired on Nov. 1, 2018.

Download The Long Arm of Ayn Rand, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:07]


'I love you': the most treasured (and misunderstood) expression of all time

I love you: those three magic words are the most powerful and misunderstood words in the English language, according to writer and contributor Marianne Apostilides. She draws from Shakespeare, Freud, Aretha Franklin, Dolly Parton and other greats to parse how "I love you" can be enriching, manipulative and even empty.

Download 'I love you': the most treasured (and misunderstood) expression of all time
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The Travels of Mirza Saleh Shirazi

In the 18th and 19th centuries, a series of Persian travellers from Iran and India to visit cities all over the world. They wrote popular travelogues describing the cultures and ideas they encountered and asked the questions fundamental to all of us: who am I? What is our relationship to each other, and to the world? * Originally broadcast on March 9, 2020.

Download The Travels of Mirza Saleh Shirazi
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Rembrandt in Amsterdam, Part Two

His early art work in the Dutch city of Leiden wasn't all that great, but soon after Rembrandt arrived in Amsterdam in 1631, he had become the most highly sought-after artist around. Rembrandt's art makes us rethink what it means to be an artist, and a consumer of art. His art looks back at us and demands: who do you think you are, looking at this?

Download Rembrandt in Amsterdam, Part Two
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The 99% Invisible City: Roman Mars

For the last decade, Roman Mars has been exploring the hidden stories behind architecture and design in his podcast 99% Invisible. He speaks with Nahlah Ayed about how learning to read the secret language of cities reveals reasons for delight all around us, why he sees cities as ‘evolving organisms,’ and how war and disease shape the built environment.

Download The 99% Invisible City: Roman Mars
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:07]


The Evolution of Policing, Part One

In part one of a two-part documentary series on policing, contributor Kyle G. Brown traces its history, from the watchmen of the pre-modern era, to colonial forces — to the increasingly militarized police of today.

Download The Evolution of Policing, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


I Will Never See The World Again: Imprisoned writer Ahmet Altan’s memoir of resilience

Lawyers and supporters of celebrated Turkish novelist and journalist Ahmet Altan are calling for his immediate release from prison, where he remains on false charges. The call is made more urgent, they say, as COVID-19 sweeps through the facility. This month marks four and a half years since Altan was arrested and imprisoned. *This episode originally aired on June 18, 2020.

Download I Will Never See The World Again: Imprisoned writer Ahmet Altan’s memoir of resilience
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Love Tunnels: Getting Married in Las Vegas

Contributors David Zane Mairowitz and Malgorzata Zerwe recount their odyssey throughout the southwest United States, as they ponder wedding services that range from mere kitsch to the truly bizarre. Their journey culminates, naturally, in Las Vegas, where they tie the knot at a drive-through chapel in a minutes-long ritual.

Download Love Tunnels: Getting Married in Las Vegas
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Rembrandt in Amsterdam, Part One

His early art work in the Dutch city of Leiden wasn't all that great, but soon after Rembrandt arrived in Amsterdam in 1631, he had become the most highly sought-after artist around. Rembrandt's art makes us rethink what it means to be an artist, and a consumer of art. His art looks back at us and demands: who do you think you are, looking at this?

Download Rembrandt in Amsterdam, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Stranger in a Strange Land: Larry Madowo

Covering the chaos of the last national election in his home country of Kenya gave Larry Madowo solid experience as a journalist reporting on an outcome that not everyone agrees on. As a North American correspondent for the BBC, he takes us inside his experience as a Black man reporting on the U.S. election in a deeply divided country.

Download Stranger in a Strange Land: Larry Madowo
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In Defence of Domestic Workers: Adelle Blackett

Professor Adelle Blackett is the chief legal architect behind the International Labour Organization's first comprehensive standards offering protections and rights to more than 60 million domestic workers. In her public lecture to Cornell University, the Canada Research Chair in Transnational Law at McGill University addresses why we urgently need to bring equality to the household workplace.

Download In Defence of Domestic Workers: Adelle Blackett
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Story of Rice

Half the people on the planet eat it once a day. And it's one of the world's fastest growing food staples. But rice is more than food. It's folklore, culture, and history. Iris Yudai revisits her 2002 documentary exploring the power and meaning of rice. *This documentary originally aired on November 26, 2002.

Download The Story of Rice
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Tangled Roots: A History of Black Hair

From pre-colonial Africa till now, Black hair has shifted in its meaning and become highly politicized, particularly in Western society. And today, Black women's hair continues to have an enormous bearing on how they are able to move through the world. We're taking a look back at the story of Black hair, and what it tells us about the Black female experience throughout history.

Download Tangled Roots: A History of Black Hair
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Buying Buddha, Selling Rumi

Living in modern society is hard and so people often turn to the "mystical marketplace" where Westerners consume Eastern traditions to find some kind of healing balm for the ailments of modernity.

Download Buying Buddha, Selling Rumi
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Notes From Utopia: The Arab Spring 10 years on

Ten years ago, the Middle East was in convulsions as protesters attempted revolution in several countries. Looking back, what can we learn from those experiments in human collaboration?

Download Notes From Utopia: The Arab Spring 10 years on
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Science and Society: Frédéric Bouchard

In his lecture, and in a conversation with host Nahlah Ayed, philosopher of science Frédéric Bouchard explores our current relationship with scientific expertise and why we trust — or don’t trust — the experts.

Download Science and Society: Frédéric Bouchard
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Rise of H.P. Lovecraft

American short story writer H.P. Lovecraft died in 1937. Now he's more popular than he was in his lifetime. IDEAS examines why his brand of “cosmic horror” resonates in the 21st century, and how new writers are dealing with his racist legacy.

Download The Rise of H.P. Lovecraft
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A Baldwin Revival: In Good Times and In Bad

On February 18, 1965, the writer, poet and civil rights activist James Baldwin was invited to Cambridge University for a debate on whether the American dream is "at the expense of the American Negro." He marshalled a devastating argument and won. The themes in his historic speech echo in our times today with both prescience and frustrating familiarity. *This episode originally aired on June 24, 2020.

Download A Baldwin Revival: In Good Times and In Bad
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Everything at Once

Out of synch? No wonder: the pandemic clock is messing with us. Taking measure of a strange moment, with writers, sociologists, a therapist, and a mathematician.

Download Everything at Once
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The Black Jacobin: Part Three

This final episode explores C.L.R. James coming to America, his influence on the Black Power movement, meeting up with Trotsky in Mexico, to his final days in England.

Download The Black Jacobin: Part Three
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Warfare State: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson

When critiques are made of the military-industrial complex in the U.S., they usually come from left-wing thinkers. But Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a lifelong Republican and career army officer, believes that military spending has become an ideological article of faith on the political Right. And it's both bankrupting America and making the world a dangerous place. *This episode originally aired on September 28, 2020.

Download The Warfare State: Col. Lawrence Wilkerson
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The Desert: a well-spring of the imagination

Deserts cover nearly one-third of the earth's landmass of the earth, but we're still unsure what to make of them. Sometimes we consider them empty wastelands, other times we see them as beautiful landscape. IDEAS producer Matthew Lazin-Ryder explores our historically complicated, and yet intimate, relationship with deserts. *Originally broadcast on November 22, 2019.

Download The Desert: a well-spring of the imagination
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The Rising Star of Judith Shklar, the skeptical liberal

Why it matters to say ‘cruelty is the worst thing that we do’ according to fans of Judith Shklar, political philosopher.

Download The Rising Star of Judith Shklar, the skeptical liberal
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The Bionic Society

Think you're Wonder Woman? Being addicted to your device can make you a little bit bionic.

Download The Bionic Society
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:07]


The Black Jacobin: Part Two

Advisory: some of the language in this episode reflects the historical realities of the slave trade and the institution of slavery. | The second episode in this three-part series explores C.L.R. James leaving Trinidad for England and the story behind some of his acclaimed books, including his classic study of the Haitian Revolution, The Black Jacobins.

Download The Black Jacobin: Part Two
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Rethinking menopause: Authors argue dreaded life change has an upside

Is The Change always “women’s hell?” Is it possible that the negative way we think about menopause has an effect on how women actually experience menopause? Writer Darcey Steinke and historian Susan Mattern reframe an often-dreaded transition and reclaim the power of post-reproductive life. * Originally aired on September 5, 2019.

Download Rethinking menopause: Authors argue dreaded life change has an upside
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From Iceland to the Red Planet: The Mars Mission 2020

* Warning: Explicit Language * Iceland’s terrain — and mythology — yield surprising insights into potential past life on Mars, and sobering lessons on Earth’s future. *Originally aired on June 11, 2020.

Download From Iceland to the Red Planet: The Mars Mission 2020
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Black Jacobin: Part One

This episode explores his Trinidadian upbringing, and how cricket became the inspiration for his ideas about the human condition.

Download The Black Jacobin: Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Just one story: Joseph Campbell and 'The Hero’s Journey'

For 70 years, a book by American academic Joseph Campbell called The Hero With A Thousand Faces has shaped western storytelling, from comics to novels to videogames to movies -- including Star Wars, which was directly inspired by it. In particular, the book outlined the steps of a universal heroic narrative, something he called "The Hero’s Journey." But after seven decades of the book’s massive influence, is it now time to leave the hero’s journey behind? This documentary "Just One Story" probes the appeal and the limits of the story we’ve been telling ourselves for nearly a century. *Originally aired on September 3, 2019.

Download Just one story: Joseph Campbell and 'The Hero’s Journey'
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A Story of Joy: Jesse Wente

Writer and broadcaster Jesse Wente says that it's important to frame stories about Indigenous people in joy, even if those stories also contain other, darker emotions. In November 2020, he gave a lecture for Vancouver Island University's annual Indigenous Speaker Series, presented by the university in partnership with CBC IDEAS. His lecture looks at the state of reconciliation in Canada today, and the role that joy can play in moving forward. Jesse Wente's talk is titled, The Story of Joy: Reducing the Harm So We Can Heal.

Download A Story of Joy: Jesse Wente
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Why the novel "Bear" (1976) is still controversial -- and relevant

It's a novel so strange, shocking and surreal that it's hard to describe. At the surface, Bear is about a woman who develops a sexual relationship with a bear. And though the 1976 novel earned Marian Engel a Governor General's award, it's been largely forgotten. Contributor Melissa Gismondi brings Bear to life and explores its mystery, meaning and relevance today.

Download Why the novel "Bear" (1976) is still controversial -- and relevant
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New Year's Levee

In a time-honoured IDEAS tradition, Nahlah Ayed hosts a New Year's levee, giving us a taste of what to expect this coming year. We'll hear from the show's producers and contributors about everything from the cultural history of Black hair, to lessons on marketing a 'green' movement, to the revival of a controversial Canadian novel about a bear.

Download New Year's Levee
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Why too much logic leads to irrationality: Justin E. H. Smith

The Parisian-American philosopher Justin E. H. Smith argues that attempts to impose the victory of reason always lead to explosions of irrationality, whether in our individual lives or at the level of society. His book is called Irrationality: a History of the Dark Side of Reason. *Originally aired on October 22, 2019.

Download Why too much logic leads to irrationality: Justin E. H. Smith
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Reconciliation, Part 3: Back to the Land

Indigenous people say there can never be reconciliation with Canada if the question of land remains unaddressed. This is the last of a 3-part series on genocide, truth, and reconciliation.

Download Reconciliation, Part 3: Back to the Land
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How to avoid conflict: Lessons from 16th century Italian duels

York University PhD student and master fencer, Aaron Miedema has been researching over 300 cases of duels from the 16th and 17th century. Turns out there are lessons for us from 500 years ago which may prove useful in today's climate of public blaming and shaming. *Originally aired on Dec. 20, 2019.

Download How to avoid conflict: Lessons from 16th century Italian duels
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Christmas Philosophy 101

Heat the cocoa, stoke the fire, and settle in for some good ol' fashioned philosophy. Christmas is a minefield of deep philosophical quandaries, like — is it ethically correct to lie to children? Who does a gift really benefit the giver, or receiver? How do we really know Santa exists, or doesn't? Join us on a dramatic journey through the philosophy of Christmas.

Download Christmas Philosophy 101
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Reconciliation, Part Two: No Way Home

In Bosnia, there are facts about the genocide but little acceptance of their truth by Serb aggressors. For Bosniaks, genocide denial means they are stuck in a violent past with little prospect for release. This is part two of a three-part series on genocide, truth, and reconciliation.

Download Reconciliation, Part Two: No Way Home
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Ordinary Magic: The Musical Genius of Jerry Granelli

*Warning: Profanity | A profile of the legendary jazz drummer and composer Jerry Granelli, on the eve of turning 80. He has accompanied many of the greats, including: Mose Allison, Sly Stone and The Grateful Dead. And most famously, he is the last surviving member of the Vince Guaraldi Trio that recorded the iconic album: A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Download Ordinary Magic: The Musical Genius of Jerry Granelli
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Frank Zappa: Dangerous Kitchen, Part Three

Frank Zappa redefined what it was to be a composer in our time. But what was his impact on those who worked most closely with him? In this three part-documentary series about the legendary musician, hear from family members, musicians and others who worked with him, as well as excerpts from a CBC interview with Zappa, recorded the year before his death.

Download Frank Zappa: Dangerous Kitchen, Part Three
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Fireside & Icicles — poems for winter

A childhood full of Christmasses in Wales has left IDEAS producer Tom Howell pining for a certain kind of nostalgic poem this winter. So he turns to poets to put into words a strange feeling of homesickness, nostalgia, and yearning in his documentary, Fireside and Icicles.

Download Fireside & Icicles — poems for winter
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Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture # 4

IDEAS revisits the 1989 Massey Lectures of physicist and humanitarian Ursula Franklin. Influencing a whole generation of tech thinkers, The Real World of Technology analyzes technology in the broadest sense: as a human system, rooted in power and responsibility.

Download Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture # 4
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Reconciliation, Part One: When the Killing Ends

Any talk of post-conflict reconciliation quickly turns to Rwanda. Post-genocide, Rwandans have moved forward but arriving at a collective truth has meant accepting the relationship between truth and fact is not always clear and straightforward.

Download Reconciliation, Part One: When the Killing Ends
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God: Leibniz vs Voltaire

Is the concept of God useful at a time of crisis? German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and French writer and philosopher Voltaire had different views on that question.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Frank Zappa: Dangerous Kitchen, Part Two

Frank Zappa redefined what it was to be a composer in our time. But what was his impact on those who worked most closely with him? In this three part-documentary series about the legendary musician, hear from family members, musicians and others who worked with him, as well as excerpts from a CBC interview with Zappa, recorded the year before his death.

Download Frank Zappa: Dangerous Kitchen, Part Two
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Dirt on Handwashing: The Legacy of Dr. Semmelweis

The resistance Ignaz Semmelweis encountered to his life-saving ideas would ultimately lead to his tragic end. With handwashing in the midst of a renaissance in the era of the coronavirus, Dr. Semmelweis deserves at least some of the credit. *This episode originally aired on May 28, 2020.

Download The Dirt on Handwashing: The Legacy of Dr. Semmelweis
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Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture # 3

IDEAS revisits the 1989 Massey Lectures of physicist and humanitarian Ursula Franklin. Influencing a whole generation of tech thinkers, The Real World of Technology analyzes technology in the broadest sense: as a human system, rooted in power and responsibility.

Download Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture # 3
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture # 2

IDEAS revisits the 1989 Massey Lectures of physicist and humanitarian Ursula Franklin. Influencing a whole generation of tech thinkers, The Real World of Technology analyzes technology in the broadest sense: as a human system, rooted in power and responsibility.

Download Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture # 2
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:09]


A continent of stories: slaying the dragons of hate with words

Deborah Ahenkora has long believed there's a 'book famine' throughout Africa. The most acute shortage is in books written by Africans for Africans — especially children's books in which African children can see themselves reflected. So she decided to rewrite that history to ensure African stories are both told and read. *Originally aired on February 5, 2020.

Download A continent of stories: slaying the dragons of hate with words
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Frank Zappa: Dangerous Kitchen, Part One

Frank Zappa redefined what it was to be a composer in our time. But what was his impact on those who worked most closely with him? In this three part-documentary series about the legendary musician, hear from family members, musicians and others who worked with him, as well as excerpts from a CBC interview with Zappa, recorded the year before his death.

Download Frank Zappa: Dangerous Kitchen, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Flip Side of History: the Aztecs through their own words

Forget history written by the victors. Cundill Prize-winning historian Camilla Townsend turned to annals kept by the Aztecs themselves to reveal a history of a vibrant, sophisticated people who valued hard word, perseverance, who were master storytellers and loved a good joke — and who 500 years ago had outdoor food courts!

Download The Flip Side of History: the Aztecs through their own words
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Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture #1

Revisiting the 1989 Massey Lectures of physicist and humanitarian Ursula Franklin. Influencing a whole generation of tech thinkers, The Real World of Technology analyzes technology in the broadest sense: as a human system, rooted in power and responsibility. Episode 1: technology as practice.

Download Ursula Franklin Massey Lecture #1
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Bridging Divides In The Wake of a Global Pandemic

Vaccine nationalism. Isolationism. Rising poverty and unequal access to health care. The divides marking the experience of living through this pandemic are so stark you can trace them on the world map. To discuss how to address growing global inequality, Nahlah Ayed is in conversation with African Development Bank Group president Akinwumi Adesina, former minister of environment in Morocco Hakima El Haité and Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

Download Bridging Divides In The Wake of a Global Pandemic
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Generation Botox

*Warning: Profanity | When a woman opts to get plastic surgery, she enters complex and fraught territory. Some claim it's self-exploitation but an increasing number of younger women view plastic surgery as empowering. IDEAS contributor Maggie Reid examines the fault lines that define what she calls Botox Nation.

Download Generation Botox
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What's in a Name?

*Warning: Examples discussed in this episode is disturbing | In order to identify and hunt them down during the Holocaust, Nazi authorities declared that all Jews must only bear names selected from a sanctioned list. University of Cologne professor Iman Nick has spent years studying these naming tactics — and their frightening similarities to the world we live in today.

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Common Good | Commanding Hope: Thomas Homer-Dixon

Climate activist Greta Thunberg once declared that she doesn’t want hope, unless it translates into action. Political scientist Thomas Homer-Dixon shares his ideas on how hope can galvanize concrete change. *This episode is part of our series, Common Good.

Download Common Good | Commanding Hope: Thomas Homer-Dixon
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Peace, Order, and Good Geometry

The story of geometry is bound up in the Renaissance, the rise of nation states, and the expression of absolute power. Geometric designs came to represent order in the universe. But order’s war with chaos continues — just compare the geometric plans for Washington, D.C., with the lived reality. Historian Amir Alexander traces the rise of geometry from Euclid to the United Nations.

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The Cult Movie Canon

They’re weird. They break the rules. They’re kinda bad. They are cult movies. Dive into the stories of films from ‘Troll 2’ to ‘The Last Dragon’ to the ‘Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ to learn what drives people to watch these oddball films again and again. Producer Matthew Lazin-Ryder looks at the history, future, and function of cult movies. *Originally aired on May 19, 2020.

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The Complexity of Cuteness

The charms of cuteness seem obvious. Yet, from the Japanese fear of adulting to universal attractions of indeterminacy, the new field of Cute Studies reveals layers beneath a fluffy surface.

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Thucydides, Part 2: Lessons from the plague of Athens

The plague of Athens struck in 430 BC, violently killing up to half of the Greek city's population. Thucydides was on hand to document the grim symptoms, as well as the social and psychological fallout. His vivid account holds enduring lessons for us during pandemic times today.

Download Thucydides, Part 2: Lessons from the plague of Athens
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Thucydides, Part 1: The First Journalist

About 2,500 years ago, Thucydides travelled ancient Greece, gathering stories about a brutal war that plunged the ancient world into chaos. He set high standards for accuracy, objectivity and thoroughness in his reporting. IDEAS producer Nicola Luksic explains why his account of the Peloponnesian War is relevant today. *Originally aired on Jan. 7, 2011.

Download Thucydides, Part 1: The First Journalist
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Render Unto Caesar: Render What? Unto Whom?

"Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." It's a lasting phrase that has touched off church-and-state and tax debates. This riposte to the religious authorities transcends mere matters of money, and agitates the hearts of believers: What ultimately belongs to God, and how does that question resonate in a secular age?

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Roxane Gay: A Fierce and Vital Voice

Warning: Content includes rape and profanity | Roxane Gay likes to joke that even her opinions have opinions — which comes in handy for her column in The New York Times. The Haitian-American writer is fond of dark explorations, but her work can also be funny and erotic. IDEAS Producer Mary Lynk speaks with the formidable Ms. Gay about racism, surviving rape and what she calls the 'fetishizing of forgiveness.'

Download Roxane Gay: A Fierce and Vital Voice
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Mapping the Heavens: Yale astrophysicist Priya Natarajan

In 2019, the first up-close image of a black hole was recorded. And yet, so much about them, their bizarre properties and the role they play in the universe remains a mystery. The distinguished Yale astrophysicist Priya Natarajan dives into black holes and dark matter in her lecture and book: Mapping The Heavens.

Download Mapping the Heavens: Yale astrophysicist Priya Natarajan
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The Long Conversation: Why public broadcasting is more crucial than ever

In a public talk she gave in 2018, journalist Sue Gardner argues that we’ve returned to the same set of ominous social conditions which led to the creation of public broadcasting in the first place — and that now is the time to recommit to public service journalism.

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Laughing Matters: the science of laughter

Disclaimer: Profanity | What role does laughter play in the evolution of humanity? What does our laughter have in common with the way primates and even rats laugh? IDEAS contributor Peter Brown takes us on a joyride throughout our evolutionary history, and shows us why laughing matters.

Download Laughing Matters: the science of laughter
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Money Rules: Is Capitalism Destroying Democracy?

We are used to hearing how capitalism goes hand-in-hand with freer, more democratic societies. But it's not always so. Investigative journalist Bruce Livesey reveals historical examples that show when wealth becomes concentrated among the very few, the stage can be set for totalitarianism, and for the destruction that totalitarianism inevitably brings.

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LaFontaine-Baldwin 2020: Pathways to Renewal

In the midst of a pandemic is it too soon to talk about renewal? For some, it’s well past time. Previous LaFontaine-Baldwin lecturers and emerging leaders gather to look upon the fault lines COVID-19 has exposed, and what needs to be done in the aftermath.

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The Conspiracy Rush

Conspiracy theories may be ultra divisive today, but there was a time when they were an acceptable form of knowledge. They are powerful in political battle — and even more so in the age of rising populism. But if you think we're in a golden age of conspiracy theories, think again.

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The Forest Floor of the Art World: Marc Mayer at MOCA

We’re dazzled, and sometimes frazzled, by our encounters with contemporary art. Marc Mayer, former director of the National Gallery of Canada, draws back the curtain to show what’s behind the art that seduces — and confounds — us.

Download The Forest Floor of the Art World: Marc Mayer at MOCA
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Rats: Facing Our Fears, Part Two

For millennia, rats have been portrayed as violent and disgusting. But rats have aided in our self-understanding. IDEAS contributor Moira Donovan investigates the contributions rats have made to humanity and whether co-existing with rats means coming to understand their role in our ecosystem.

Download Rats: Facing Our Fears, Part Two
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:07]


Rats: Haunting Humanity’s Footsteps - Part One

Despite their admirable qualities, rats have long been reviled as disgusting and aggressive animals. IDEAS contributor Moira Donovan explores how rats have come to occupy a position as cultural villain — and how they’ve shaped human history along the way.

Download Rats: Haunting Humanity’s Footsteps - Part One
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The Coming Zombie Apocalypse

Just in time for Halloween, IDEAS revisits pop culture’s love of zombies in a 2015 documentary by journalists Garth Mullins and Lisa Hale. What does the zombie as a metaphor say about us? Join us for a trip into the zombie apocalypse.

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Visions of the Apocalypse

If 2020 makes you feel like the end is near, you’re not alone. But it might help to know that history shows people have always felt the end is near. This archive episode from 1998 looks at the longevity of apocalyptic thinking.

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The Pulpit, Power and Politics: Evangelicalism's thumbprint on America

The grip conservative evangelicalism has on American social and political life is hard to overestimate. Committed Christian and author Jemar Tisby was joined by historians of religion John Fea and Molly Worthen to help answer the question: what exactly is the relationship between conservative evangelicalism and America today? *Originally broadcast on December 4, 2019.

Download The Pulpit, Power and Politics: Evangelicalism's thumbprint on America
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The Rhythm Section: How Beats and Grooves Define Us

Rhythm is of course a fundamental part of music. But neuroscience is revealing that it’s also a fundamental part of our innermost selves: how we learn to walk, talk, read and even bond with others. From heartbeats heard in the womb, to the underlying rhythmic patterns of thought, rhythm — as one researcher puts it — is life.

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An Evening with Chickens

Chickens have followed humankind around the world, giving us eggs and meat, and also spiritual and social comfort. And it’s the living animal who stars in this podcast by IDEAS producer, Tom Howell. Spend an hour with this helpful creature and hear its tales of adventure from dinosaur times to the modern city.

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Cowboy's Lament, Part Two

Since the early 1900s cowboy fiction and films have played a major role in shaping popular notions of the American West. In this second of our two-part series The Cowboy's Lament, IDEAS contributor Tom Jokinen examines how the ethos of the American West is captured in film, both advancing — and complicating — the myth of the Old West.

Download Cowboy's Lament, Part Two
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Cowboy's Lament, Part One

The potent Images of the cowboy and the six shooter have shaped the myth of the American West: pioneer freedom and frontier towns. In this first episode of a two-part series, IDEAS contributor Tom Jokinen explores the myth of the West, and how the values of individual freedom and boundless conquest continue to feed America's political ideology through to today.

Download Cowboy's Lament, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:09]


An Unequal World

Humans have a strong sense of fairness, and we know that the good things in life are unequally divided among us. We’ve justified inequality by creating concepts of class, race, gender and so on. It’s only in the last century that the concept of universal human rights has taken hold, and we’re still struggling to make an equitable world a reality. So where do we go from here?

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The lasting legacy of the 1970 FLQ manifesto

Fifty years ago this October, the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), escalated their separatist campaign by kidnapping British diplomat James Cross, and Quebec Deputy Premier Pierre Laporte, sparking what came to be known as the October Crisis. In return for releasing Cross, the FLQ had seven demands, one of which was to have its manifesto broadcast - and CBC/Radio-Canada complied. Geoff Turner examines the impact and legacy of the manifesto, and the relevance it still has today.

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Meet the winners of the 2020 Canada Council Killam Prizes

The Canada Council Killam Prize recognizes and celebrates inspiring scholars and eminent thinkers. Nahlah Ayed spends time with each Killam Prize winner to learn about their cutting-edge work in engineering, the humanities and the sciences: natural, health and social.

Download Meet the winners of the 2020 Canada Council Killam Prizes
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The Democracy of Suffering: Todd Dufresne

We’re all in this together, suffering equally, as the planet struggles through the Anthropocene age — an era created by human activity. It’s why the author of The Democracy of Suffering, Todd Dufresne, calling on philosophy — and all of us — to revolutionize what it means to be human. *Originally aired on April 8, 2020.

Download The Democracy of Suffering: Todd Dufresne
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Ought vs. Is: Reclaiming nature as a moral guide

Throughout the centuries, politicians, theologians and philosophers have pointed to nature as a way to guide our actions and beliefs. The equivalence between "unnatural" and "bad" seems to be as durable as ever. But philosophical anthropologist Lorraine Daston doesn't think using "nature" as a guide is necessarily all bad. *Originally aired on Dec. 5, 2019.

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The Buffalo, Part Three

The Buffalo — a three-part series that originally aired in 1992 — tells the story of a magnificent animal, and of the people who lived with the buffalo. It's also the story of survivors, of the Indigenous people who continue to revere the buffalo and who fight to save the one remaining herd, now threatened with extermination. The series is narrated by novelist, Thomas King.

Download The Buffalo, Part Three
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The Idea of India: Gandhi vs Ambedkar, Part Two

In 2019, the Indian government passed legislation amending its citizenship laws. Many people argued it targeted the country's Muslim minority. Protesters held up images of B.R. Ambedkar, the Dalit icon who claimed India could never be free unless the caste system was eradicated. Can his idea of true equality offer a way back to unity?

Download The Idea of India: Gandhi vs Ambedkar, Part Two
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


The Idea of India: Gandhi vs Ambedkar, Part One

In December 2019, the government of India passed legislation amending its citizenship laws. Critics, activists, and ordinary people pushed back, arguing the law was targeting the country's Muslim minority. Many protesters held up images of Gandhi and urged a return to Gandhian values. But does Gandhi and his values still have a place in today's idea of India?

Download The Idea of India: Gandhi vs Ambedkar, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


Separated at Rebirth: Science and Religion

With the rise of mindfulness and the growth of brain research, Buddhism and science have become fast friends. Philosopher Evan Thompson is skeptical about the contemporary characterization of Buddhism. His latest book, Why I Am Not a Buddhist, offers both a critique of Buddhist exceptionalism, and a way forward for our globalized and diverse culture.

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The Mystery of Louise Labé

Stakes are high for readers and scholars as the identity of a groundbreaking poet, Louise Labé, is debated in France and beyond. Sexy, wry, and bold, her poems cut across time. They also upend assumptions about how female desire was expressed in the past.

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The Buffalo, Part Two

In the foothills of the Rockies, you'll find a cliff rising 11 metres from the ground called Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, in Alberta. For more than 5,000 years, Indigenous peoples of the plains used this site to kill buffalo. It's a place deeply connected to Indigenous history and practice. Novelist Thomas King, narrates this second in a three-part series on the Buffalo, originally broadcast in 1992.

Download The Buffalo, Part Two
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:09]


The Shakespeare Conspiracy

The internet is awash in conspiracy theories. In this lecture, Simon Fraser University professor Paul Budra examines conspiracy theories as an art form, using the long-running conspiracy theories over Shakespeare as a test case.*Originally aired on March 31, 2020.

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The Death of Leisure

As soon as the inbox is cleared and the dishes are put away and the report is submitted and laundry is done, only then can we think about how to pursue the things we value. So how do we reconfigure our relationship to the time we have and open it up so we can pursue the good life? *Originally aired on February 20, 2020.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:54:09]


The Buffalo, Part One

In the mid-1870s, buffalo roamed across North America in the millions. A few short decades later, there were only 300 left. Using both science and storytelling, this series tells the story of the buffalo and its relationship to the Indigenous people who revere it. (This series originally aired in 1992 and is narrated by novelist, Thomas King.)

Download The Buffalo, Part One
[mp3 file: runs 00:54:09]


Dear Leader: Notes from the time of cholera

Leading in the time of COVID-19 is to lead when a virus is calling the shots. In 1892, Hamburg had its own devastating cholera outbreak. According to historian Sir Richard Evans, how authorities navigated the pandemic offers surprisingly relevant lessons for leaders today. *Originally aired on April 28, 2020.

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Into the Wild: Anthropologist Wade Davis

Ancient wisdom in the modern world can save us from the dangers of climate change, argues Wade Davis. The Canadian anthropologist has spent a lifetime looking into what Indigenous peoples of the world can teach us. Now, 10 years after his 2009 Massey lectures called 'The Wayfinders,' he looks back on what has changed on our planet — for better and for worse. *Originally aired on February 18, 2020.

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The History of Serial Killers: Peter Vronsky

What goes on in the mind of a serial killer? After two random encounters with serial killers, historian and professor Peter Vronsky is trying to answer that very question — who they are, what motivates them, and in the age of true crime fanaticism — why we're so obsessed with them.

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How jeans became one of the most polluting garments in the world

Blue jeans evolved from being the uniform of cowboys to a symbol of rebellion, and are now the most popular — and possibly the most polluting — garment in the world. Ideas contributor and fashion expert Pedro Mendes explores the 150-year history of jeans and the 'authenticity' they are supposed to represent.

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The Identity of Me, The Community of Us

In this time of upheaval, what does the future look like? When we think about marginalized groups in society, and issues of gender, race, and poverty — how do we work toward making a better world? Rinaldo Walcott, Monia Mazigh and Micheal Vonn explores these questions in conversation with Nahlah Ayed.

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The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism: Anne Applebaum

The left may be dominant in cultural spheres. But the right is dominant in politics, where real power is exercised. That dominance, however, has derailed political conservatism throughout the Western world, where authoritarian "strong man" leadership and values have become increasingly mainstream. Historian Anne Applebaum, author of Twilight of Democracy joins host Nahlah Ayed to talk about how the right went wrong.

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Common Good | The Politics of Belonging

Left-wing and right-wing governments around the world have fallen into the same trap, a failure of leadership to inspire a cohesive vision of society that ordinary citizens can share. What is to be done? Author George Monbiot joins Nahlah Ayed to point toward a new way of conceptualizing the common good, and forging a politics of belonging. *This episode is part of our series, Common Good.

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Common Good | The Next Great Migration

“Migrant” evokes images of desperate people surging at closed borders. But they are us. Science writer Sonia Shah argues that a deep human instinct has been politicized as disruptive and troubling. In fact, migration is our ancient survival response to crisis. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

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Common Good | The Limits of Us

When we challenge humanity to "work together as a species," are we making an unreasonable demand? As part of our Common Good series, poet and essayist M. NourbeSe Philip and Nahlah Ayed explore the limits of words like ‘community’, ‘we’, ‘us,’ and ‘together' with various thinkers. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

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Common Good | Hedonism for Everyone

When you think of a hedonist, you might think of a wine-guzzling sex addict, or a chocolate-binging glutton. As part of our series searching for common good, IDEAS tracks the true story of hedonism from Ancient Greece to Star Trek’s 24th century. *This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

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Common Good | The Good Ancestor

In calling on us to be good ancestors, public philosopher Roman Krznaric is trying to give the discussion about the future a language, an address and a face: introducing us to all the people already working to formalize the practice of thinking long-term for the common good, benefiting both present and future generations.*This episode is part of our series, The Common Good.

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2019 CBC Massey Lectures: The Audience Talks Back

In the five-part 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution, Sally Armstrong surveyed the ways in which the world has changed for women, and our slow progress toward a more equitable society. In conversation with Nahlah Ayed, the acclaimed journalist looks back on the experience of making the lectures and answers questions sent in by listeners.

Download 2019 CBC Massey Lectures: The Audience Talks Back
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CBC Massey Lecture # 5: Shifting Power | Toronto

The irresistible force meets the immovable object: the long fight for women’s equality with men is perhaps nearing a conclusion. Women all over the world are demanding a better, more equitable place with men — and they need men to stand by their side. That’s the final message of the 2019 CBC Massey Lectures, Power Shift: The Longest Revolution.*Originally broadcast on November 15, 2019.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 5: Shifting Power | Toronto
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The Brilliance of Beavers: Learning from an Anishnaabe World

Renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg scholar and artist, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson talks about the philosophy and ethics that undergird Anishnaabe worlds in her 2020 Kreisel Lecture entitled, A Short History of the Blockade: Giant Beavers, Diplomacy and Regeneration in Nishnaabewin. *Originally aired on April 16, 2020.

Download The Brilliance of Beavers: Learning from an Anishnaabe World
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Paradise Lost, Part 2: After the Fall

When we first meet Adam and Eve in John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, they live in a perfect world. But by the end, they're expelled into one that is marked by exile, war, illness and death. IDEAS explores what the poem says to us about how to grapple with an uncertain future — and if we can find our collective way back home. *Originally aired on April 20, 2020.

Download Paradise Lost, Part 2: After the Fall
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Paradise Lost: Better to Reign in Hell

In the 17th century, John Milton wrote his epic poem Paradise Lost. He created the most sympathetic Satan in literary history — a complex character with legitimate grievances against a repressive God. In part one of a two-part series, IDEAS explores how Satan has resonated with people at moments of rebellion throughout history — from the Arab Spring to Communist Yugoslavia.*Originally aired on March 13, 2020.

Download Paradise Lost: Better to Reign in Hell
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Machines that can think: real benefits, the Apocalypse, or 'dog-spaghetti'?

Stephen Hawking thought that artificial intelligence could spell the end of humanity. But Roger Melko of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics thinks that maybe, just maybe, we're on the cusp of a wonderfully transformative age. *Originally aired on January 17, 2020.

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CBC Massey Lecture # 4: When the Patriarchy Meets the Matriarchy | Montreal

Populism is bad for women — so much of the rise in authoritarian governments is based on the dream of returning to an idealized past, when a woman knew her place was in the kitchen. Populism also targets women’s rights and their push for equal status. In the fourth CBC Massey Lecture, Sally Armstrong shines a light on how women are seizing opportunities for a new kind of social mobility. *Originally broadcast on November 14, 2019.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 4: When the Patriarchy Meets the Matriarchy | Montreal
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Where Is Our Conscience? Patricia Churchland on the biological roots of morality

How do we determine right from wrong? According to Patricia Churchland, the answer is through science and philosophy. The distinguished proponent of neurophilosophy explores how moral systems arise from the influences of nature and nurture in her book, Conscience: The Origins of Moral Intuition.

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Psychologists confront impossible finding, triggering a revolution in the field

In 2011, American psychologist Daryl Bem proved the impossible. He showed that precognition — the ability to sense the future — is real. His study was explosive and shook the very foundations of psychology. Contributor Alexander B. Kim in Vancouver explores the ‘replication crisis’ and what it means for the field and beyond. *Originally broadcast on November 1, 2019.

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Take it like a Stoic: coping in the time of coronavirus

Early Stoics knew all about crisis: They lived through wars, exile and episodes of infectious disease, as well as the loss of loved ones. In the time of coronavirus, modern Stoics say their predecessors have lessons that speak directly to coping with the constraints of pandemic living. *Originally aired on April 3, 2020.

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CBC Massey Lecture # 3: A Holy Paradox | Fredericton

Most religions try to explain what the universe means and why we’re here. More often than not, many of these explanations entail women having lower status than men. Award-winning journalist, Sally Armstrong focuses her third CBC Massey Lecture on the place of women throughout the history of religion. *Originally broadcast on November 13, 2019.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 3: A Holy Paradox | Fredericton
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A symbol of failure: The resurgence of border walls

Canadian author and journalist Marcello Di Cintio is a wall traveller and says the 21st century has been a boom time for walls. In 2012, he wrote a book about our walled world and has made it his business to track them since. The Twenty-Walled Century is the fifth and final part in our series: Walking the Border: Walls That Divide Us. *Originally published on February 28, 2020.

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The New Masters: The 2019 Sobey Art Award, Part 2

Ideas producer Mary Lynk in conversation with the 2019 Sobey Art Award finalists Anne Low and Kablusiak and winner Stephanie Comilang. *Originally aired on March 6, 2020.

Download The New Masters: The 2019 Sobey Art Award, Part 2
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Until the End of Time: Brian Greene

As the COVID-19 crisis trudges on, a physicist contemplates the ultimate end of the universe... and marvels at the wonder of all existence. Mathematician Brian Greene says there is solace to be found by looking across the vastness of space and time. *Originally aired on April 14, 2020.

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What psychiatrists still don't know about mental illness

How can it be that psychiatry still doesn’t know what causes major mental problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia? Historian Anne Harrington and writer Marya Hornbacher explore psychiatry’s messy medical past and surprisingly uncertain present. * Originally broadcast on October 28, 2019.

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CBC Massey Lecture # 2: The Mating Game | Vancouver

In Sally Armstrong's second lecture, she explores sex: the history of sex for procreation, for pleasure, for business. In our time, monogamy is the norm, but evolutionary biology suggests that in prehistory, it wasn't. Throughout history, we've seen increasing control of women — and as a result, the domination of women's bodies by men. *Originally published on November 12, 2019.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 2: The Mating Game | Vancouver
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How the Hungarian border fence remains a political symbol

Beginning in 2015 a great wave of migrants flooded Europe. Hungary built a fence to keep everyone out. In part four of our series, Walking the Border: Walls That Divide Us, Nahlah Ayed visits the Hungarian border that divides the country from Serbia and Croatia. *Originally published on February 27, 2020.

Download How the Hungarian border fence remains a political symbol
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The New Masters: The 2019 Sobey Art Award, Part 1

IDEAS producer Mary Lynk in conversation with 2019 Sobey Art Award winner Stephanie Comilang and finalists Kablusiak, Nicolas Grenier, Anne Low and D'Arcy Wilson. *Originally published on March 5, 2020.

Download The New Masters: The 2019 Sobey Art Award, Part 1
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How elite do-gooders 'fixing' the world are part of the problem: Anand Giridharadas

Should the world’s problems be solved by unelected elites? Surely these are decisions we all need to be part of. Anand Giridharadas argues if we don’t trust the institutions we have for fixing the world, then it's time to build better institutions — from the bottom up. *Originally aired on January 27, 2020.

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'Global Trumpism': Bailouts, Brexit and battling climate change

**Warning: Explicit language in this episode ** With panache, humour, and a dash of outrage, political economist Mark Blyth explains how the 2008 bank bailouts led to Trump, Brexit, and a whole new era of populism. He also sheds light on how a tiny percentage of the 1% got even richer after a decade of austerity — and yet he remains hopeful about combating climate change. *Originally aired on October 15, 2019.

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CBC Massey Lecture # 1: In the Beginning(s) | Whitehorse

“There’s never been a better time in human history to be a woman,” says Sally Armstrong in the first of her first 2019 CBC Massey Lectures: Power Shift: The Longest Revolution. The acclaimed journalist and activist argues that women are closer to gaining equality than ever before. She examines how over the centuries women lost power and status to men — right up to today. *Originally broadcast on November 11, 2019.

Download CBC Massey Lecture # 1: In the Beginning(s) | Whitehorse
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Accepting refugees isn't a gift — it's a human right: Michael Ignatieff

In a time of growing authoritarianism and a decline in democratic institutions, it is a greater challenge to accept that despite the language of “us and them,” we have obligations to strangers both inside and outside our borders. Michael Ignatieff talks to Nahlah Ayed about citizenship, moral values, and what we still owe each other. *Originally aired on Sept. 16, 2019.

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Imagining the World: Darwin and the Idea of Evolution

Darwin's ideas about evolution shifted the way we think about the place of humans in the world: we're not so special, just another life form with a bigger brain and opposable thumbs. What else can we learn from Darwin in this late stage of civilisation? A discussion from the 2019 Stratford Festival with culture critic Adam Gopnik, evolutionary biologist Maydianne Andrade and science journalist Ivan Semeniuk. *Originally aired on March 16, 2020.

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The saxophone and the spirit: the sax's forgotten spiritual roots

The shiny, handsome and undeniably cool saxophone has been a staple of jazz music and popular culture for nearly a century. But some music historians say that what’s often been overlooked are its deep roots in spiritual beliefs and religious ritual. *Originally aired on March 3, 2020.

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Inventing Ireland: Declan Kiberd

A people get a sense of who they are through their artists, primarily the writers and poets who, through words and stories, reflect images that are somehow familiar. Irish scholar Declan Kiberd has written about this making of identity for Ireland — with the added layer that much of Irish identity has a colonialist residue. *Originally aired on January 30, 2020.

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Ireland's Brexit border: the 'most maligned place'

After 20 years of peace, the looming uncertainty of a hard Irish border has sparked fear and rancour in Ireland and Northern Ireland. The tension over the fate of the now invisible border splitting north and south has renewed sectarian tensions. IDEAS host Nahlah Ayed went there to hear what people are saying. This episode is part two in our series, Walking the Border: Walls That Divide Us. *Originally aired on September 9, 2019.

Download Ireland's Brexit border: the 'most maligned place'
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The Relativity Revolution: Albert Einstein and the making of the modern world

In 1905, when Albert Einstein worked as a patent office clerk, he published a series of academic papers that revolutionized physics and our thinking about space and time, mass and energy. His ideas were a great leap forward. Panellists at the Stratford Festival discuss how Einstein revolutionized how we live our lives today. *Originally aired on December 3, 2019.

Download The Relativity Revolution: Albert Einstein and the making of the modern world
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'We continue to be feared': Kamal Al-Solaylee on why being brown matters to everyone

In a compelling conversation, acclaimed journalist and author Kamal Al-Solaylee discusses all things brown, from the psychology of the colour, to why he says, it’s always 'a bridesmaid, never the bride,' in the constructed hierarchy of human skin tone. *Originally aired on November 6, 2019.

Download 'We continue to be feared': Kamal Al-Solaylee on why being brown matters to everyone
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'Shouldn't there be a law against that?': Facing our fear of genetic innovation

Professor Bartha Knoppers is the 2019 recipient of the Henry G. Friesen International Prize for excellence in health research. Once a scholar of surrealist poetry, she has now become a world-renowned voice and a prolific researcher in the field of medical ethics. Her Friesen lecture is called: "Scientific Breakthroughs: The Prohibition Reflex." *Originally aired on October 30, 2019.

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Escape options narrowing for world caught in 'progress trap': Ronald Wright

In his 2004 CBC Massey Lectures, Ronald Wright warned us a “progress trap” was closing around our technologically-advanced, but dangerously self-destructive, civilization. Wright tells IDEAS now he’s unsure as to whether there is any wiggle room left.

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The peace walls of Belfast: Do they still help keep the peace?

More than 20 years after the Good Friday peace agreement was signed, the so-called peace walls remain in Northern Ireland. Host Nahlah Ayed heads to Belfast to find out if the walls are helping or hindering community reconciliation between Catholic and Protestant, Republican and Unionist. This is the first episode in our series, Walking the Border: Walls That Divide Us. *Originally aired on September 2, 2019.

Download The peace walls of Belfast: Do they still help keep the peace?
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Wishful dreaming: Freud and the discovery of our inner life

Sigmund Freud had many radical ideas about our inner life and how mental illness or trauma might be treated. Perhaps his most radical idea was that the patient should be listened to. This episode features a panel discussion at the Stratford Festival about the current state of Freud's legacy on self-knowledge. *Originally aired on November 5, 2019.

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Education without liberal arts is a threat to humanity, argues UBC President

UBC President Santa J Ono is a renowned biologist. But he says it was the liberal arts education that he had as an undergraduate gave him the wisdom he needed to flourish. Ono argues that the values imparted by a liberal arts education are crucial for humanity to thrive. *Originally aired on January 14, 2020.

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True History in the Age of Fake News: The 2019 Cundill Panel

Deepfakes. Political bias. Contested facts. How can historians possibly nail the truth in our polarized times? A panel of top historians — all of them Cundill History Prize finalists and winners — explain why the challenge is formidable, yet nothing new. Guests: Jill Lepore, Julia Lovell, Maya Jasanoff, Mary Fulbrook, and Faith Wallis. *Originally aired on Feb. 17, 2020.

Download True History in the Age of Fake News: The 2019 Cundill Panel
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The Origins of Specious: Climate Change Denialism

Climate change denialism has been around for years. And it's still here, even after four decades of scientific consensus that humans are causing the climate crisis. But why? Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes explains in a public talk how denying climate change came to be a personal and political belief.

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The Joy of Mediocrity

Sick of aiming for excellence and feeling miserable when you fall short? You’re not alone. Explore the upsides of imperfection, lowered expectations, and outright failure with philosopher Daniel Milo, writer Avram Alpert, School of Life teacher Sarah Stein Lubrano, and Zahra Dhanani, who has adopted the “good enough” life. *Originally aired on March 12, 2020.

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'In my great and unmatched wisdom': Donald Trump's new world order

As disruptors go, Donald Trump is the world's most powerful one right now — disrupting everything from national politics, to social issues, to international relations. How far will his disruptions go, and what will remain once he's gone? IDEAS convened a panel at the Stratford Festival to discuss the Trump era and its aftermath. **Originally aired on Oct. 8, 2019.

Download 'In my great and unmatched wisdom': Donald Trump's new world order
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The Unconventional Diplomat: Standing Up For Principles

In Part 2 of The Unconventional Diplomat, former UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein continues a fascinating tour through the backrooms of global diplomacy. He explains why he refused to go on bended “knee in supplication” before the UN Security Council and shares his advice on how to be a good citizen. ** Originally aired on Dec. 13, 2019.

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The Unconventional Diplomat: Breaking The Rules

In a well-known speech in diplomatic circles, as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called out powerful world leaders. But he laments a “fearfulness” currently within the UN. IDEAS producer Mary Lynk sits down for a rare feature interview to reveal the story behind the moment when breaking conventional rules was imperative. *Originally aired on Dec. 12, 2019.

Download The Unconventional Diplomat: Breaking The Rules
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Here Comes Trouble: How to worry sensibly in the 21st Century

Three expert analysts, each from a different discipline, reveal their greatest fears for the near-ish future and make the case for how we must now prepare for it. From the threat of conflict between great powers, to the "war" for net-zero carbon emissions, to introducing a new global authority that can exercise authority over individual nations. *Originally aired on February 13, 2020.

Download Here Comes Trouble: How to worry sensibly in the 21st Century
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Just don't say his name: the modern left on Karl Marx's place in politics

Intelligent minds have disagreed, vehemently, ever since Karl Marx wrote his ideas down in the mid-1800s. They disagree some more in this IDEAS episode about Marx and the modern political left, featuring Sheila Copps, Charlie Foran, and Rick Salutin. *Originally broadcast on Sept. 10, 2019.

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We must recapture the lost 'art' of scripture: Karen Armstrong

Former Catholic sister Karen Armstrong describes herself as a freelance monotheist. She focuses on the sounds, rituals and power of scripture, all of which she fears is endangered in our secular, digital age. She joined Nahlah Ayed to talk about recovering what she calls “the lost art of scripture.” *Originally broadcast on Jan. 6, 2020.

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Da Vinci's Celibacy

Leonardo da Vinci is celebrated for his astonishing genius and inventive mind. Historian Elizabeth Abbott argues that understanding da Vinci’s sex life, or lackthereof, provides a rare glimpse into how sexuality and male love was understood and practised in Renaissance Italy — and what it may mean for looking at his achievements today. *Originally broadcast on Jan. 28, 2020.

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Monster buff Leonardo da Vinci would have loved Halloween

Leonardo da Vinci would have loved Halloween. The renaissance artist and engineer was also a monster buff. Writer and historian Ross King unveils da Vinci’s sketches and stories of monsters, beasts, giants and dragons, and explains how the artist’s views on fantasy were in contrast to an increasingly rational age. *Originally broadcast on Oct. 31, 2019.

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Slavery's long shadow: The impact of 200 years enslavement in Canada

Is there a connection between the enslavement of Black-Canadians and their overwhelming presence in the criminal justice system today? The United Nations has sounded the alarm on anti-black racism in Canada, stating it can be traced back to slavery and its legacy. In Part 2 of his series on slavery in colonial Canada, Kyle G. Brown explores the long-lasting ramifications of one of humanity’s most iniquitous institutions. *Originally broadcast on February 25, 2018.

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The Flapper and the Modern Girl

In the 1920s a new style icon arrived: flappers. They had bobbed hair and penchants for smoking, drinking, and dancing. In Matthew Lazin-Ryder's documentary you'll hear how the spectre of the flapper became a moral panic in Canadian society, and dredged up fears of unhinged sex and drugs. *Originally broadcast on February 4, 2020.

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Reading With a Grain of Salt, Part Three

Writer Barbara Nichol continues exploring shared assumptions about reading with original thinkers — writers, critics, scholars and journalists. This is the final part in a three-part series called Reading with a Grain of Salt.

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Reading with a Grain of Salt, Part Two

Writer Barbara Nichol continues exploring shared assumptions about reading, readers and books with original thinkers — writers, critics, scholars and journalists. This is part two in a three-part series called Reading with a Grain of Salt.

Download Reading with a Grain of Salt, Part Two
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If we abolish prisons, what's next?

Prison abolitionists say prison is a failed social policy. Ultimately what it does is address the expected consequences of inequality and marginalization. So, maybe, the time has come to get rid of prisons altogether. If that's the case, how do we move forward? *Originally broadcast on December 18, 2019.

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Lessons of Doris Lessing, Part One

Writer Doris Lessing grew up in white Southern Rhodesia where she became an astute observer of the ways ordinary people learn to cling to extreme beliefs. In her 1985 CBC Massey Lecture, the Nobel laureate shares her insights on identity politics, highlighting divisions we can still see all around us.

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Reading with a Grain of Salt, Part 1

We tend to think that reading is a sign of intelligence, that we’re improved by it. But are our assumptions well-founded? Not really, according to an array of literary front runners. Writer Barbara Nichol explores assumptions we have about reading, readers and books in a three-part IDEAS series. *Originally broadcast on May 13, 2020.

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Writers on a mission — 3 high-stakes stories from award-winning authors

Three Canadian writers read and reflect on the theme of troubled missions: Joan Thomas on her childhood as an evangelical Christian, Erin Bow on the self-sacrificing dedication of scientists, and Don Gillmor on the whys of suicide. All are winners of 2019 Governor General’s Awards.*Originally broadcast on Dec. 30, 2019.

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The Enright Files: Rethinking Cities

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted what doesn’t work in our cities, from overcrowding on public transit, to the lack of green spaces where people can be physically active outside — yet maintain a safe, physical distance from each other. This month on The Enright Files, conversations about how to make cities happier, healthier and more liveable.

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Canada's slavery secret: The whitewashing of 200 years of enslavement

Why is it common knowledge that Canada was the terminal stop on the Underground Railroad for runaway slaves from the U.S., but few know that Blacks and Indigenous peoples were bought, sold and exploited right here? Contributor Kyle G. Brown asks how slavery went on for 200 years, and yet is one of the least talked about aspects of our history?

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Americas Other Civil War

In the decades after the Civil War, four American cities over four decades saw white civilians ⁠— and officials ⁠— attack and destroy thousands of African-American properties, businesses and lives. Contributor Melissa Gismondi examines each incident to exhume the socio-cultural dynamics at work ⁠— and how they persist today.

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Revisiting Thomas King’s Massey Lectures, Part Five

For his fifth Massey Lecture, writer Thomas King turns to what he considers a major threat to the existence of Indigenous people. He analyzes how the Canadian and American governments have legislated Indigenous people to give up what is theirs, from treaty land and its resources, to Indigenous identity itself.

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Revisiting Thomas King’s Massey Lectures, Part Four

In his fourth lecture, author Thomas King turns to the stories that Native people tell about themselves, both orally, and in print, and how these stories can be used to imagine a Native future.

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Revisiting Thomas King’s Massey Lectures, Part Three

Storytelling in all its forms is the focus of Thomas King’s 2003 Massey Lectures which IDEAS is revisiting this week. In his third talk, King looks at the ways Indigenous people have been seen and characterized by outsiders. Nations of real people, reduced at times to one archetype by the North American and European imagination.

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Revisiting Thomas King’s Massey Lectures, Part Two

In his second lecture, award-winning author Thomas King continues to look at the breadth and depth of Native experience and imagination. He focuses on Indigenous identity and he grounds it in tales of his youth in California, and from his own performative experiments with appearance.

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Revisiting Thomas King’s Massey Lectures, Part One

IDEAS revisits one of the best Massey Lectures, delivered by award-winning author Thomas King. He draws listeners in with his witty and colourful insights into the stories we tell each other. But as an Indigenous man, he knows their sinister capabilities, too.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:54:09]


The Politics of Theatre: A discussion with New York Times journalists

The idea that theatre exists to show us the underlying meaning of our actions, while at the same time shaping our society, goes back to ancient times. In this episode of IDEAS, a discussion from the Stratford Festival with three NYT journalists about the way theatre is political and how it reflects present day.

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Myths on Screen: Hollywood at War, Part 3

Warning: Explicit Content | As the Twin Towers lay in rubble after Sept. 11, former U.S. president George W. Bush's administration leveraged the influence of Hollywood celebrities to sway the public to rally around the flag.

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Inside the teenage brain: How science is helping us understand adolescents

Teenagers can be erratic and emotional. But recent science may just have the answer to why teenagers are the way they are — and it's not just about hormones. This new understanding is changing the way some societies see teens and it may just lead to changing the boundary between teenager and adult. *Originally broadcast on January 28, 2020.

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Olive Senior delivers prestigious 2019 Margaret Laurence Lecture: A Writer's Life

Olive Senior was born in Jamaica in 1941, the seventh of 10 children. She went on to become one of Canada’s most acclaimed writers. Hear excerpts from her 2019 Margaret Laurence Lecture, readings from her work and a conversation with IDEAS producer Mary Lynk. *Originally broadcast on October 9, 2019.

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Myths on Screen: Hollywood at War, Part 2

Warning: Explicit Content | America's losing the Vietnam War shattered the 'heroic myth' that Hollywood had spent decades creating, according to historians and researchers. What followed was an era of films attempting to recapture past glories.

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Beyond Tragedy: The living history of Native America

Warning: Explicit language | The massacre of over 150 Lakota at Wounded Knee in 1890 is often taken to be the “end” of Native American history — a notion unintentionally reinforced by Dee Brown's 1970 book, "I Buried My Heart at Wounded Knee." This idea of history as tragedy is something Ojibwe writer David Treuer tries to undo in "The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee." *Originally broadcast on February 20, 2019.

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Bread: The Rise and Fall

Bread is a simple food and a staple item across the world. Bread is life. But for some, it represents a wrong turn in our species' evolution. Through conversation with bakers, religious leaders, historians and bread aficionados, producer Veronica Simmonds asks whether bread has led us to salvation or damnation.

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Myths on Screen: Hollywood at War, Part 1

The U.S. military had some little-known help in spinning public perception about it over the last seventy years: Hollywood. This series shows how movies functioned as the unofficial — but massively influential — propaganda arm of America's war efforts.

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The Coffee Chronicles: The story of the world’s most popular drink

An ordinary cup of Joe just won’t do anymore. It’s now gourmet, fair trade and organic. Whether the method is pour over, French press, or vacuum pumps, coffee is now described with terms like “mouthfeel”, just as fine wines are. Contributing producer Marilyn Powell brings us her documentary, The Coffee Chronicles about the cultural history behind the world's most popular drink. *Originally published on June 19, 2019.

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Justicia Canadiana: Jean Teillet

Justice is not blind in Canada’s legal system, argues Métis lawyer Jean Teillet. She says it needs to view Indigenous people fully to render justice fairly.

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Enright Files: What we should have learned from the SARS outbreak

Seventeen years before the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, another mysterious, virulent respiratory illness suddenly appeared — SARS. On the Enright Files, conversations with public health experts from those unnerving times, as they were assessing what we learned from the SARS and Ebola outbreaks.

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The Great Leveler: Dr. Paul Farmer on the fight for equal health care

Co-founder of Partners in Health Dr. Paul Farmer says the COVID-19 pandemic offers many lessons and opportunities for the world, including a chance to reorient how we think about who deserves access to a high standard of healthcare.

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Re-Engineering Humanity: Brett Frischmann (Part Two)

Digital network technologies are re-engineering our lives, according to legal scholar Brett Frischmann. In part two of our series, IDEAS explores ways to prevent ourselves from becoming wards of the technologists. First step: we need to wake up to this very real possibility and danger.

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The Old Masters: Decoding pre-historic art with Jean Clottes

The songs and stories of prehistoric humans are gone. All that remains of their culture is their art. 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. *Originally broadcast on January 15, 2018.

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Re-Engineering Humanity: Brett Frischmann (Part One)

American legal scholar Brett Frischmann says we have to wake up to the risk of losing our humanity to 21st techno-social engineering. He warns humans are heading down an ill-advised path that is making us behave like ‘perfectly predictable’ simple machines.

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[mp3 file: runs 00:54:08]


2020 Gelber Prize: From freedom to extremism in Central Europe

Extreme leaders, inequality, and unhappy citizens: what happened to the promise of a new day in Eastern and Central Europe? From the fall of the Wall to this pandemic era, looking at the legacy of an ill-fitting “politics of imitation,” with 2020 Gelber Prize-winners Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes.

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