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Five Freedoms: Freedom from Oppression

Oppression takes many forms. It can be political or cultural, or even social. There’s the weight of inherited oppression, and there’s the question of how oppression shapes who we are — both individually and collectively. This episode features a discussion with Bhutila Karpoche an Ontario politician of Tibetan heritage, Eloge Butera  a government lawyer and a refugee from Rwanda, and Christina Gray a Dene-Metis lawyer. 

Yuval Harari: Hacking Humanity

Global intellectual Yuval Harari is worried our brains are getting hacked. Artificial intelligence, biotechnology and ever-sophisticated algorithms are tapping into our values, habits, tastes, desires and the very thought patterns that define us — all to control how we shop, what we read, and whom we vote for. The notion of free will is defunct. But Harari explains why he remains cautiously optimistic about humanity's future.
Ideas Afternoon

Our planet's future: Are we doomed or is there hope?

In Paul Kennedy's final week at IDEAS, he looked back at his four decades with the program. This episode was inspired by the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, an event Paul has moderated since 2010. He invited three guests to join him onstage at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto to answer two basic questions about our collective future: are we doomed? And what inspires hope?

Talking with Dr. David Naylor: Winner of the 2018 Friesen Prize

Although he's not yet officially eligible to collect his pension, Dr. David Naylor is already President Emeritus of the University of Toronto — having occupied the office itself for eight turbulent years from 2005 - 2013. Right now, he's interim head of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. Naylor spoke with Paul Kennedy about his life and work, and about his Friesen Prize Lecture at the University of Ottawa.

Author Michael Pollan on the therapeutic use of psychedelic drugs

When writer Michael Pollan took a psychedelic drug he saw himself burst into a pile of post-it-notes. His ego had dissolved. In his book, "How to Change Your Mind," Pollan explores how psychedelic drugs have been used to enhance spiritual experiences and treat many conditions from depression to anxiety.

The Nerve, Pt 2: How music made us evolve as humans

The next time you listen to your favourite song, consider that, without music, you might not even be here. In episode two, The Nerve investigates how music made us evolve as humans. It comes down to some pretty basic human needs: family, friendship, and sex.

Five Freedoms: Freedom of Speech

Fanned by the internet, the war over our right to say anything at all has created silos of intolerance. Fewer people are listening to differing points of view. And with less dialogue, nothing changes. But are there things that should not be said? A discussion with former politician Sheila Copps, human rights lawyer Micheal Vonn and journalist Althia Raj.

Mythologizing Empire

For people of Shakespeare's time, the idea of "empire" was something new. As Britain’s power spread, the eternal questions remained: what makes a great empire successful, and what pitfalls need to be watched out for? No ancient empire offered more lessons than the Roman Empire — which had, of course, conquered Britain. In his plays set in the Roman Empire, Shakespeare explored themes of leadership, human frailty, political downfall, while at the same time mythologizing the birth of a new Rome in Britain.

Kent Monkman: Decolonizing art history

It's easy to identify a painting by Kent Monkman. His work is almost always monumental. Some of his canvasses as so big that buildings need to be built around them. Beyond that, Monkman often works with historical subjects — either quoting famous images from the history of art, or playing with real historical events by situating them in paintings that reflect obvious artistic references. Kent Monkman talks with Paul Kennedy about his life and work, and how to have fun while making serious statements about the world we live in.

Most of what follows is true: Michael Crummey on writing and the relationship between fact and fiction

What does a novelist owe to the past? How does a writer walk the tightrope between telling a story and accurately reflecting history and geography? Acclaimed novelist Michael Crummey reflects on these questions in the annual Henry Kreisel Lecture in Edmonton, presented by the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta.

Documentary series The Nerve explores how music informs the human experience

From the team behind the Peabody-Award-winning documentary The Wire, another sonic adventure series exploring the beauty and mysteries of our relationship with music. Episode 1 of The Nerve: Music & the Human Experience focuses on music and the brain. The Nerve first aired in 2008, and is presented by Jowi Taylor.

Five Freedoms: Freedom to Believe

Faith and spiritual traditions have always shaped our ideas of right and wrong, both in the private and the public sphere. How do the values that come from faith shape secular society — and should they? And are social values necessarily secular? Journalist Haroon Siddiqui, Sto:Lo First Nation writer Lee Maracle, and writer Michael Coren debate the issues.

Flirting with Fascism: America's New Path?

We've heard it so much that it's almost become a cliché: America is on the road to fascism. The debate over that claim continues, but renowned scholar Henry Giroux argues that "Donald Trump is not just some impulsive rich guy who marketed his way into politics through empty Kardashian-style consumer culture." Trump needed followers. And he got them. Now what?

Learning to Listen: Paul Kennedy's takeaway lesson

In order to make his first-ever IDEAS documentary, back in 1977, Paul Kennedy paddled a 14-foot canoe down the 1,600 km Mackenzie River. He recently revisited the area in March 2019, and talked with some of the people he met 42 years ago. Those conversations provide the context for Paul's final IDEAS episode.
Ideas Afternoon

'We're an oral culture': Saving an endangered language through Gwich'in storytelling

The Gwich'in language — like too many Indigenous languages in Canada — is seriously endangered. Paul Kennedy recently spent some time in Whitehorse, co-hosting a series of radio plays with people from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, in Old Crow and with the Gwaandak Theatre Company in partnership with the Vuntut Gwitchin Government. Together they are attempting to preserve the language through a series bilingual radio plays.

Voice of IDEAS Paul Kennedy retires after 40 years with the CBC

Paul Kennedy is retiring at the end of June after 40 years with the CBC — 20 of those years as the iconic voice of IDEAS. The host and documentary-maker is set to start his next adventure and passes the baton to Nahlah Ayed, the new host of IDEAS, who begins in September.

Anarchist Emma Goldman picked as Paul Kennedy's favourite IDEAS subject

For almost as long as he's been reading, biography has been Paul Kennedy's favourite narrative form. In this episode, Paul discusses a four-part 1983 series about Emma Goldman — the anarchist/feminist autobiographer. His guests are 2019 Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong, and historian Margaret Macmillan.

CBC News foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed to host CBC Radio's Ideas

Veteran foreign correspondent Nahlah Ayed will be the new host of Ideas, the nightly CBC Radio program devoted to exploring contemporary ideas on everything from culture and the arts to science and technology and social issues.

When Hong Kong felt like the middle of the world: Paul Kennedy

In the decade before he became host — between 1990 and 1999 — Paul Kennedy spent a lot of time in Hong Kong. The Crown Colony was scheduled to be handed back to China in 1997, after more than a century of British rule. With special guest Lady Lavender Patten, wife of Hong Kong's final British governor, Paul revisits several of the documentaries that he prepared for IDEAS during that time.

Meet Ken Lyotier — An unforgettable encounter for IDEAS host Paul Kennedy

When Paul Kennedy first met Ken Lyotier he simply called himself a ”dumpster diver.” Lyotier organized street people, who were collecting refuse on the streets of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, to obtain bottle deposits. Those people eventually owned, and operated a storefront recycling business called "United We Can." They ultimately changed environmental legislation in B.C. and in other jurisdictions throughout North America.
Ideas Afternoon

Our planet's future: Are we doomed or is there hope?

In Paul Kennedy's final week at IDEAS, he looked back at his four decades with the program. This episode was inspired by the Muskoka Summit on the Environment, an event Paul has moderated since 2010. He invited three guests to join him onstage at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto to answer two basic questions about our collective future: are we doomed? And what inspires hope?
Ideas Afternoon

Pierre-Esprit Radisson: 'A wilderness hero for our time'

At a time when most Europeans died within a day's journey from where they were born, Pierre-Esprit Radisson criss-crossed the Atlantic 10 times, was adopted into an Iroquois family, and was kidnapped by pirates. Historian Mark Bourrie documents the explorer’s adventure-filled life and counters stereotypes about the entire colonial epoch — especially Iroquois society — in his book, Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson.
Ideas Afternoon

'We're an oral culture': Saving an endangered language through Gwich'in storytelling

The Gwich'in language — like too many Indigenous languages in Canada — is seriously endangered. Paul Kennedy recently spent some time in Whitehorse, co-hosting a series of radio plays with people from Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, in Old Crow and with the Gwaandak Theatre Company in partnership with the Vuntut Gwitchin Government. Together they are attempting to preserve the language through a series bilingual radio plays.

The Recurring Case of 'Recursion': a pattern for making sense of the world

Some call it "self-similarity." Others define it vaguely as "wheels within wheels" or refer to the image of nesting Russian dolls. For such a fundamental concept, recursion is strangely less famous and more often overlooked than it deserves to be. With help from a cognitive scientist, a language expert, and a physicist, Paul Kennedy tries to remedy this state of affairs, without getting himself tied up in knots within knots within knots…

10 facts about coffee, 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.
Ideas Afternoon

Pierre-Esprit Radisson: 'A wilderness hero for our time'

At a time when most Europeans died within a day's journey from where they were born, Pierre-Esprit Radisson criss-crossed the Atlantic 10 times, was adopted into an Iroquois family, and was kidnapped by pirates. Historian Mark Bourrie documents the explorer’s adventure-filled life and counters stereotypes about the entire colonial epoch — especially Iroquois society — in his book, Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson.

Five Freedoms: Freedom from Oppression

Oppression takes many forms. It can be political or cultural, or even social. There’s the weight of inherited oppression, and there’s the question of how oppression shapes who we are — both individually and collectively. This episode features a discussion with Bhutila Karpoche an Ontario politician of Tibetan heritage, Eloge Butera  a government lawyer and a refugee from Rwanda, and Christina Gray a Dene-Metis lawyer. 

Five Freedoms: Freedom of Speech

Fanned by the internet, the war over our right to say anything at all has created silos of intolerance. Fewer people are listening to differing points of view. And with less dialogue, nothing changes. But are there things that should not be said? A discussion with former politician Sheila Copps, human rights lawyer Micheal Vonn and journalist Althia Raj.

Five Freedoms: Freedom to Believe

Faith and spiritual traditions have always shaped our ideas of right and wrong, both in the private and the public sphere. How do the values that come from faith shape secular society — and should they? And are social values necessarily secular? Journalist Haroon Siddiqui, Sto:Lo First Nation writer Lee Maracle, and writer Michael Coren debate the issues.

Reclaiming Marxism in an age of meaningless work

The absurdities and humiliations of late capitalism — social atomization, the gig economy, brutalizing inequality — have given new life to Karl Marx. While known best for his economic theorizing, Marx has found new favour for his rigorous humanism. Those most vulnerable to the vagaries of capitalism are seeing in Marx a framework for understanding their own humanity.

Ideas in the Afternoon for July 2019

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