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Tracing the origins of celebrity, from medieval divas to Kris Jenner

Celebrity culture existed long before the stage, screen, and social media. Famous people, who elicited Kardashian-level feelings of love and hate in the public, were present centuries ago... though they share qualities with stars today, say scholars Irina Dumitrescu and Sharon Marcus.

Tomson Highway to explore life through laughter in 2022 CBC Massey Lectures

Cree artist Tomson Highway will deliver this year's CBC Massey Lectures to audiences across Canada in the series's first live event since 2019.

What cult classics can teach us about art, representation — and failure

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.

Randy Boyagoda sees today's America through Dante's Divine Comedy

Central to Dante's Divine Comedy is the idea of contrapasso: the appropriate afterlife punishment that matches the transgressions committed during one's earthly existence. Novelist Randy Boyagoda applies this notion to create Dante's Indiana, a tragi-comic epic that descends deep into the recesses of modern American life.

How Ontario's new Justice Centres are rethinking criminal justice

The demographics of Canada’s prison population are far out of line with the rest of Canada. As part of the Provocation Ideas Festival and the Toronto International Festival of Authors, Nahlah Ayed hosts a panel discussion on challenges facing the legal system, and how to build a better court.
CBC MASSEY LECTURES

Esi Edguyan explains how myths of Africa and Blackness were created in early modern Asia

In her final Massey Lecture, Esi Edugyan explains how China and Japan created their ideas of Blackness from imported stories of pre-20th-century Africa, "shaping cultural expectations and in turn shaping the Black history and experience in Asia."
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Can you ever truly return home again? Andrew Lam says 'you have to let go'

Can you ever truly go home again? At a time when more people have been forcibly displaced from their homes than at any other time in history, IDEAS explores what it means to return years — or decades — later. This is the first episode in our five-part series, The Idea of Home.
CBC MASSEY LECTURES

Why Esi Edugyan says Afrofuturism can be 'powerful, almost beyond imagining'

"What would an African nation spared slavery and colonialism look like?"asks Esi Edugyan in her fifth Massey Lecture. She refers to the 2018 film Black Panther as a powerful example of Afrofuturism creating a world that includes possibilities for a limitless future.
CBC MASSEY LECTURES

Why Esi Edugyan argues the term 'transracialism' should replace 'racial passing'

"The term 'transracial,' however flawed, seems an attempt to give us a new idea of racial passing, one shorn of self-interest," says Esi Edugyan. She suggests modernizing language could be the key to changing negative perceptions around the idea of racial fluidity in her fourth Massey Lecture.
CBC Massey Lectures

What does it mean to 'pass'? Esi Edugyan examines the complexities of identity

We all construct our own identities but our realities are fixed, says Esi Edugyan in her third Massey Lecture. She explores how people who “pass” as Black complicate our understanding of identity.
CBC Massey Lectures

Who do we choose to remember and why? Esi Edugyan explores Canada's forgotten ghost stories

“If ghost stories reflect to us our histories, who is being forgotten, and why?” asks 2021 Massey lecturer Esi Edugyan. In her second lecture, she reaches into Canada’s past and uncovers the people that have been buried.
CBC Massey Lectures

Esi Edugyan on why European art fails to paint the full picture of the Black experience

In her first Massey lecture, acclaimed author Esi Edugyan explores how Black subjects are portrayed in 18th-century European art. Although generally depicted as marginal figures, the subjects tell a rich tale about cultural assumptions, Edugyan explains.
CBC MASSEY LECTURES

Out of the Sun: On Race and Storytelling | Esi Edugyan's CBC Massey Lectures

Two-time Scotiabank Giller Prize winner Esi Edugyan's CBC Massey Lectures, Out of the Sun: Race and Storytelling, explore the relationship between art and race through the lens of visual art, literature, film and her own lived experience.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

How the phrase 'beyond the pale' tests the limits of fairness

Calling something ‘beyond the pale’ puts it outside of civil society. (The word ‘pale’ actually means a ‘fence’.) So is there a fair way to build and maintain that fence in today’s political climate? IDEAS producer Tom Howell finds out how people are placing their private ‘pales’ these days — and what agreement remains on the existence of a public one.

How the power of music connects the Afghan diaspora to their homeland

IDEAS takes a journey to Afghanistan with members of the Afghan diaspora, who find their way "home" through their music. We ask: how is the idea of home embedded in music and how have decades of conflict reshaped Afghan music? This is the final episode in our series The Idea of Home.

Destroying cities during war targets people's sense of home: architect

“Urbicide” — the intentional killing of a city — is a brutal tactic of war, designed to destroy people’s sense of home and belonging to a larger collective. But even in peacetime, architecture and urban planning can become part of a more subtle kind of war over who gets to call a city home. The fourth episode in our series The Idea of Home.

Hospitality in hospitals is a 'moral obligation,' says ER doctor

Hospitality — and hospitals. Two words that share a root, but whose meanings often seem at odds with each other. IDEAS traces the tension between hospitality and discipline that has defined hospitals throughout their history, and what it means to create a hospitable hospital in the 21st century. The third episode in our series The Idea of Home.

Syrian couple builds community in Sweden through 'the right to host'

In ancient Greece, hospitality (or xenia) was seen as a sacred moral imperative. Today, the word xenia has largely fallen out of use, but its opposite, xenophobia, has been a driving factor in contemporary politics for years. IDEAS explores ancient traditions of hospitality in this second episode of our five-part series, The Idea of Home.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Can you ever truly return home again? Andrew Lam says 'you have to let go'

Can you ever truly go home again? At a time when more people have been forcibly displaced from their homes than at any other time in history, IDEAS explores what it means to return years — or decades — later. This is the first episode in our five-part series, The Idea of Home.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

Art was a battlefield for Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, a feminist before the word was invented

17-century artist Artemisia Gentileschi upended traditional depictions of women in her paintings by creating gutsy, strong female figures. With her paintbrush as in her life, she fought gender inequality and helped to reimagine womanhood.

The COVID generation: Teens share their stories of resilience and upheaval

Over the past two years, millions of teenagers have missed out on the rites of passage that generations before them experienced as a matter of course. Add to that their increased levels of anxiety and isolation, and it quickly becomes apparent why the COVID generation stands apart as a uniquely marked one.

What are the rules of war, and how are they enforced?

A Russian soldier has been sentenced to life in prison for committing war crimes in Ukraine. But what are the rules of a war crime and how can they be enforced? IDEAS speaks to three experts to examine how international law deals with war crimes.
IDEAS AFTERNOON

How the phrase 'beyond the pale' tests the limits of fairness

Calling something ‘beyond the pale’ puts it outside of civil society. (The word ‘pale’ actually means a ‘fence’.) So is there a fair way to build and maintain that fence in today’s political climate? IDEAS producer Tom Howell finds out how people are placing their private ‘pales’ these days — and what agreement remains on the existence of a public one.

Nowhere to go but down? Past year proves civilization is in decline: author

Each year seems worse than the one preceding. For Andrew Potter, author of On Decline, these events indicate that our entire civilization is in decline. And he argues we're left without the social cohesion, economic growth and political leadership that we'd need to turn things around.

Madame Blavatsky: a seeker of truth — and a fraud

IDEAS delves into one of the great enigmatic figures of the late 19th century: Madame Helena Petrovna Blavatsky. Known as the godmother of the New Age movement, she led the Theosophical Society — a group determined to seek 'no religion higher than the truth.'

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