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CBC Massey Lectures

The 2018 CBC Massey Lectures - "All Our Relations"

Prize-winning journalist Tanya Talaga (author of "Seven Fallen Feathers") explores the legacy of cultural genocide against Indigenous peoples — in Canada and elsewhere — in her 2018 CBC Massey Lectures, "All Our Relations: Finding the Path Forward".

Enlightenment Now: Why Steven Pinker believes in progress

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

Avenging Empire: My time in the IRA

Bank robberies, building explosives and prison hunger strikes. These were just part of Kieran Conway's life in the Irish Republican Army. Decades later, he's a well-known criminal lawyer in Dublin. This episode from IDEAS producer Mary O’Connell looks at Conway’s political transformation from British admirer to IRA fighter.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Is Neoliberalism destroying the world?

Deregulation. Infinite growth. Self-correcting markets. All are hallmarks of neoliberal thinking. But they're more than just assumptions about the economy. They undergird much of the most influential thinking about governance right now, and dominate political and economic thinking everywhere. The results, according to some, have been disastrous. Investigative journalist Bruce Livesey asks four experts about the rise and rule of neoliberal thought, and what it may mean for societies around the world.

Managing the Unmanageable: The Reith Lectures by Margaret MacMillan

We tend to think of war as a temporary breakdown, an interruption in our normally peaceful existence. But what if it isn't? What if it's an innate and inescapable aspect of humanity? In her BBC Reith Lectures, historian Margaret MacMillan ponders whether we're destined to fight, and explores our very complicated feelings about war. (Lecture 4)

Maximum Canada: How big is enough?

Acclaimed Globe & Mail journalist Doug Saunders argues in his book "Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough" that Canada has had trouble keeping the immigrants it attracts. This "minimizing impulse", as he terms it, has to be jettisoned if Canada is to take its rightful place on the world stage.

The Paris Riots of 1968, Part 3: A failed revolution that changed the world

Students taking to the streets to protest — it looked like a simple thing, fifty years ago in May 1968. But it proved to be the spark that started a conflagration. Thousands of demonstrators turned into hundreds of thousands, barricades were built, cars were burned. Then the workers joined in, and by the middle of May 1968, most of France was on strike. It was a political crisis like no other — and then it evaporated. It's been said that the "revolution" of 1968 failed - but it was a failure that changed the world. Philip Coulter went to Paris to talk to some of the people who were there in May 1968.

Wilde Women in a Man's World

Irish-born Oscar Wilde was Britain's most famous playwright in the late 19th century. He was also famous, or infamous, for being gay. But the people who arguably had the most important influence on him and his work were women. From the Stratford Festival, a discussion featuring writer and director Peter Hinton, literary scholar Carol Tattersall and theatre director Lezlie Wade.

One House Many Nations: Building sustainable homes to solve a national crisis

On the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (or OCN), they've come up with their own home-grown solution to a national housing crisis. Paul Kennedy made a mid-winter visit to the reserve — situated at the junction of the Opasquia and Saskatchewan Rivers, in Northern Manitoba — to see community members building the first small wooden house.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Panpsychism and the Nature of Consciousness

What is consciousness? Why does it even exist? It has long been treated as the byproduct of biological complexity. The more complicated the brain, the more self-aware. Other thinkers have seen consciousness as totally distinct from the body -- dualism. But maybe consciousness, like space and time, mass and energy, is just a basic characteristic of the universe. Maybe it’s a fundamental property of matter. Welcome to the concept of “panpsychism”.

Civilians and War: The Reith Lectures by Margaret MacMillan

We tend to think of war as a temporary breakdown, an interruption in our normally peaceful existence. But what if it isn't? What if it's an innate and inescapable aspect of humanity? In her BBC Reith Lectures, called "The Mark of Cain", historian Margaret MacMillan ponders whether we're destined to fight, and explores our very complicated feelings about war. (Lecture 3)

A book lover, his library and the Scottish Enlightenment

An Edinburgh bibliophile takes Paul Kennedy through his library of amazing books that were published in Scotland in the late 18th century, during the heyday of the Scottish Enlightenment. At the time, Adam Smith, David Hume, James Boswell and The Encyclopaedia Britannica were runaway bestsellers. Part 2 of a 3-part series. Part 3 airs October 24.

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

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

The Life Course — trauma, migration and 'renoviction' in Vancouver

PhD student Mei Lan Fang's parents survived the Cultural Revolution and immigrated to Canada with dreams of settling in a country where human rights are protected and social mobility is possible. After years of financial struggle in Vancouver, the family verged on homelessness. Mei uses her family's own experience of migration from China to help her understand the life struggles of Vancouver's marginalized seniors in a virtually impossible housing market. Her approach is known as the "life course perspective", reflecting a shift in how many social scientists view their work, and their roles.

Neil Turok on the invention of innovation

"Innovation is actually built into our DNA. It's who we are. It's what makes us different". This is the provocative thesis of Neil Turok, Director of Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Our true evolution he argues, is the result of trial and error (with more error!) played out over centuries. In this public talk and subsequent interview with Paul Kennedy, Turok expands on what he means by innovation, and how embracing the concept can open doors for the betterment of humankind.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Internal Hard Drive: What's lost when we forget to remember

We rely on our handy smartphones to remember everything from phone numbers to our friend’s birthdays. Those sleek devices serve as a type of 'external hard drive' for our memory. Contributor Jess Shane explores what happens when the art of memorization is lost.

Making Sense of the Warrior: The Reith Lectures by Margaret MacMillan

We tend to think of war as a temporary breakdown, an interruption in our normally peaceful existence. But what if it isn't? What if it's an innate and inescapable aspect of humanity? In her BBC Reith Lectures, historian — and past Massey Lecturer — Margaret MacMillan ponders whether we're destined to fight, and explores our very complicated feelings about war. (Lecture 2)

The Scottish Enlightenment: The invention of modern mind and culture

Approximately 250 years ago, the windswept and unwelcoming capital of a relatively insignificant northern nation became a beacon of intelligence for the world. Edinburgh, which had been ridiculed widely as "Auld Reekie" or "Old Smokey", was suddenly celebrated as the seat of the Scottish Enlightenment — Athens of the North.

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

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

May '68: A Tale of Four Cities

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

The Enright Files on Race and Racism

Decades after the civil rights era, the post-colonial movement, and the beginning of the multiculturalism project, racism that had lain in the shadows of Western democracies is out in the open and thriving. On this month's edition of The Enright Files, conversations about the history and persistence of racism and an ideology of whiteness that lies behind it.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

This former magician uses the power of suggestions to help heal real-life disorders

As a professional magician, Jay Olson mastered the art of illusion, deception and the power of suggestion. Now, as a PhD student in psychiatry at McGill University, he hopes the skills he's used to entertain people can also be used to heal them.

War and Humanity: The Reith Lectures by Margaret MacMillan

We like to think of war as a temporary breakdown, an interruption in our normally peaceful existence. But what if it isn't? What if it's an innate and inescapable aspect of humanity? In her BBC Reith Lectures "The Mark of Cain", historian Margaret MacMillan ponders whether we're destined to fight, and explores our very complicated feelings about war. (Lecture 1)

A Modest Proposal About Satire

Are our current politicians becoming satire-proof? Or has satire always merely preached to the choir? In search of answers Peter Brown looks to the classic satire of Juvenal, Swift and the Arab-speaking world, as well as prominent current practitioners including Armando Iannucci, creator of "Veep" and "The Death of Stalin".
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Is Neoliberalism destroying the world?

Deregulation. Infinite growth. Self-correcting markets. All are hallmarks of neoliberal thinking. But they're more than just assumptions about the economy. They undergird much of the most influential thinking about governance right now, and dominate political and economic thinking everywhere. The results, according to some, have been disastrous. Investigative journalist Bruce Livesey asks four experts about the rise and rule of neoliberal thought, and what it may mean for societies around the world.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Panpsychism and the Nature of Consciousness

What is consciousness? Why does it even exist? It has long been treated as the byproduct of biological complexity. The more complicated the brain, the more self-aware. Other thinkers have seen consciousness as totally distinct from the body -- dualism. But maybe consciousness, like space and time, mass and energy, is just a basic characteristic of the universe. Maybe it’s a fundamental property of matter. Welcome to the concept of “panpsychism”.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Internal Hard Drive: What's lost when we forget to remember

We rely on our handy smartphones to remember everything from phone numbers to our friend’s birthdays. Those sleek devices serve as a type of 'external hard drive' for our memory. Contributor Jess Shane explores what happens when the art of memorization is lost.

Maximum Canada: How big is enough?

Acclaimed Globe & Mail journalist Doug Saunders argues in his book "Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough" that Canada has had trouble keeping the immigrants it attracts. This "minimizing impulse", as he terms it, has to be jettisoned if Canada is to take its rightful place on the world stage.

A Modest Proposal About Satire

Are our current politicians becoming satire-proof? Or has satire always merely preached to the choir? In search of answers Peter Brown looks to the classic satire of Juvenal, Swift and the Arab-speaking world, as well as prominent current practitioners including Armando Iannucci, creator of "Veep" and "The Death of Stalin".

One House Many Nations: Building sustainable homes to solve a national crisis

On the Opaskwayak Cree Nation (or OCN), they've come up with their own home-grown solution to a national housing crisis. Paul Kennedy made a mid-winter visit to the reserve — situated at the junction of the Opasquia and Saskatchewan Rivers, in Northern Manitoba — to see community members building the first small wooden house.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

This former magician uses the power of suggestions to help heal real-life disorders

As a professional magician, Jay Olson mastered the art of illusion, deception and the power of suggestion. Now, as a PhD student in psychiatry at McGill University, he hopes the skills he's used to entertain people can also be used to heal them.

Ideas in the Afternoon for October 2018

Ideas in the Afternoon airs Mondays at 2:05 pm on CBC Radio One.