Passaggio: A story of transition, identity and love

'Passaggio' is a documentary by Pamela Post about the transition of her transgender son, Asher, a serious performer of vocal music. The story captures the pain and joy as Asher confronts medical procedures and the prospect of losing both his musical career and his partner.

Paleontologist explores how mass extinction and evolution are intimately linked

British paleontologist Thomas Halliday reveals how extinction is intimately linked to evolution in his book, Otherlands. He chronicles 16 extinct ecosystems over the past 520 million years to show how everything living today is the descendant of survivor species.

Legal hurdles for today's sexual assault victims took shape in Medieval England

Sexual assault victims in Medieval England faced some of the same types of challenges as they would today, says a researcher who studied 28 rape trials from 800 years ago. 

Wily Coyotes: the clever, communicative 'song dogs' trotting down your street

Coyotes are everywhere, from the deepest woods to urban backyards. Who is this “song dog” and why do they fascinate and unnerve humans? IDEAS explores some answers in a 2001 documentary that looks at coyotes, in reality and story.

From World Cup to job interviews, why we choke when it matters most

The World Cup of Soccer promises some of the most dramatic moments in sports. And when the stakes are high, some people choke. IDEAS contributor Peter Brown looks at why our skills desert us when it matters most, and what can be done to avoid the dreaded performance choke.

From patriotism to recruitment: How Hollywood helped the U.S. military sell the War on Terror

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.

Why Hollywood turned broken men into heroes after the Vietnam War

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.

How Hollywood became the unofficial propaganda arm of the U.S. military

Moviegoers likely have little idea just how close Hollywood was to the propaganda arms of the U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency, experts say — a relationship which helped shape favourable perceptions of America and its war efforts, starting during the Second World War, through the Cold War and beyond.

Flow: when the impossible becomes possible

Flow. Athletes know it: the state of mind and body when every move made is the right one. But flow presents a paradox, as a state in which you lose yourself, yet become yourself. Writer and triathlete, Suzanne Zelazo, delves into the mystery at the heart of flow.

How 'good fortune' helped aviator Ernest Gann escape near-death

IDEAS takes a deep dive into Fate Is the Hunter, Ernest K. Gann's celebrated memoir of flying and the capricious hand of fortune. The book is a nail-biting account of his early days in aviation. Gann wonders: why did I survive when so many other pilots perished?

Turn the Other Cheek: the radical case for nonviolent resistance

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the greatest gifts of scripture to humanity; just ask Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Leo Tolstoy. In a time when an eye for an eye still seems to hold sway, IDEAS producer Sean Foley explores the logic of Christian non-violence, beginning with Jesus' counsel to 'turn the other cheek.'

Twice yearly, these shepherds move with their flock. But it's getting harder

Seasonal droving of livestock, known as transhumance, still happens in rural Europe and around the world. As the practice gains newfound respect, though, pastoralists say they need support to survive.

Transhumance: An ancient practice at risk

For millennia, human beings along with their domesticated animals have travelled to bring sheep, goats, cattle, and other animals to better grazing areas. The ancient practice, known as transhumance, has been dismissed as an outdated mode of animal husbandry. Yet the practice holds promise for a sustainable future.

Michelangelo's poetry reveals his 'divided soul'

Michelangelo was dubbed the ‘divine Michelangelo’ in his day for his stunning works of art. But his poetry reveals a deeply troubled and dissatisfied soul — he never felt his work was good enough, and was plagued by feelings of guilt for his earthly desires.

How pro-democracy 'persuaders' are shifting political views

The extremes are extreme in U.S. politics. But author Anand Giridharadas and some other progressives are convinced that there are uncompromising approaches that can move up to 60 per cent of voters to value democracy and human rights. He describes the methods proven effective in shifting views.

Exploring the joys and challenges of Indigenous sexuality, gender and identity

When Europeans colonized North America, they brought very specific ideas about gender and sexuality. Following the 2022 CBC Massey Lectures, Tomson Highway joined panellists to discuss Indigenous sexuality in the aftermath of colonialism — from Cree mythology to the Vancouver dating scene.

'Swamp as sacred space': Save wetlands to save ourselves, say experts

Our relationship with wetlands is nothing if not troubled; swamps, bogs, and marshes have long been cast as wastelands, paved over to make way for agriculture and human development. But with wetlands proving crucial for life, artists, ecologists and activists say we need to rewrite this squelchy story.

Kaachi-thoogee-chik Billy Boy Cut Throat Oochi [The myth of Billy Boy Cut Throat]

Cree author and playwright Tomson Highway tells the tale of his friend Billy Boy Cut Throat, and explains how truths get transformed into myths. [Video in Cree]

The myth of Billy Boy Cut Throat

Cree author and playwright Tomson Highway tells the tale of his friend Billy Boy Cut Throat, and explains how truths get transformed into myths.

Massey Lecture # 5: When we die, we stay right here on Earth, says Tomson Highway

Tomson Highway's final Massey lecture is an uplifting and joyous conclusion to his series ⁠— a message that the worldview of Indigenous people suggests ways of seeing and believing that make our journey on Earth joyous, hilariously funny and rich in diversity.

Massey Lecture #4: Indigenous language makes space for many genders

Tomson Highway explores some of the limits monotheism imposes on our understanding of gender and the human body in his fourth Massey lecture. In the Indigenous world, the trickster is neither male or female. "She can be a man. He can be a woman. The absence of gender in Cree facilitates the process."

Massey Lecture # 3: How the Trickster brings laughter and joy to daily life

Tomson Highway invites us into the Cree world of scatological, wild laughter. He invokes the Trickster — a central figure to mythologies of many Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. In this third Massey lecture, he invites us to experience the world through joy and laughter.

Massey Lecture # 2 | Tomson Highway asks: How did the universe begin?

In his second CBC Massey lecture, Tomson Highway questions how the universe came to be. He explores ancient Greek and Christian beliefs and adds that the Indigenous worldview is: "Those who lived in ages before us... they live here with us, still, today, in the very air we breathe."

Massey Lecture # 1: Language helps us understand why we exist

In his first 2022 CBC Massey Lectures, acclaimed Cree writer Tomson Highway argues that language shapes the way we see the world. He says without language, we are lost creatures in a meaningless existence — which is why we tell stories.

CBC Massey Lectures 2022: Tomson Highway

In the 2022 CBC Massey Lecture, acclaimed Cree writer Tomson Highway uses storytelling, biography, and Cree mythology to explore five central pillars of our existence: creation, death, language, humour, and sex & gender.