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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".

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.

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.

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.

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.

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".

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.

Shaking the snow globe: 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 recent book, "How to Change Your Mind", Michael Pollan explores how psychedelic drugs have been used to enhance spiritual experiences and treat many conditions from depression to anxiety.

Steven Pinker and Ken Dryden: 'Where there's a way, there's a will'

When NHL legend Ken Dryden was about to publish his book, "Game Change", he got in touch with Harvard psychologist and linguist, Steven Pinker, who was about to publish "Enlightenment Now". Their common ground: what does it actually take to change someone's mind? Pinker also happens to have grown up in Montreal, and idolized the former Canadiens goaltender. The two talk to Paul Kennedy about the relationship of rhetoric and reason.

The Bison and the "B"

It was a simple file folder, enigmatically labelled "B". But it was the key to learning how a secret society of key scientists in the federal government in the 1920s, thwarted an ill-conceived plan to move plains bison into Wood Buffalo National Park because it would have mixed incompatible species. But the "Brotherhood" did much more than that. Author and naturalist Briony Penn tells the story of the B, and how over the decades they quietly shaped the environmental movement and how we think about nature.

Biocentrism: Rethinking Time, Space, Consciousness, and the Illusion of Death

Paul Kennedy has his understanding of reality turned-upside-down by Dr. Robert Lanza in this paradigm-shifting hour. Dr. Lanza provides a compelling argument for consciousness as the basis for the universe, rather than consciousness simply being its by-product.

'A matter of life and death' - Sue Gardner on public broadcasting

In a public talk at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Sue Gardner argues that 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.

Planet You: The mysterious world of the microbiome

There are trillions of them on — and in — our bodies. Microbes have existed on earth for more than three and a half billion years. Makes you wonder who’s playing host to whom, and whether we humans are merely vessels for these tiny survivors. They influence everything from intestinal disorders to mental health conditions — and we're only just beginning to understand their power over us. Contributor Stephen Humphrey journeys into the mysterious world of the microbiome.

Taming The Beast: Are violent urges part of men's nature?

And if they are, what do we do about it? How does a just society reconcile the desire for peace, with the desire, felt more often by men, to commit acts of violence? How much does nature stir boys, and men, to fight? And to what extent can they control that urge? Author Daemon Fairless takes IDEAS producer Mary Lynk on a road trip to try and unlock why some men are drawn to violence. They meet up with a science teacher, an MMA fighter, and a serial killer, who are profiled in his new book "Mad Blood Stirring: The Inner Lives of Violent Men. "

Starving out resistance: Anne Applebaum on Stalin's deliberate famine in Ukraine

Paul Kennedy in conversation with historian Anne Applebaum, winner of the 2018 Lionel Gelber Prize. The journalist and academic won the prestigious nonfiction award for her book, "Red Famine". It tells the story of how Stalin's collective farming policies in the early 1930s induced starvation among 3 million Ukrainian peasants. The book argues that this act was no byproduct of bad policy decisions, but instead a deliberate effort to crush Ukrainian nationalism and resistance —with repercussions that extend into our own era of Russian-Ukrainian tensions.
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.

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.

'A matter of life and death' - Sue Gardner on public broadcasting

In a public talk at the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto, Sue Gardner argues that 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.