How rethinking capitalism may save the planet

If the earth is to survive catastrophic climate change, the economies of the world can't continue to grow infinitely. Maintaining the status quo makes ecological viability impossible. Mathematician and philosopher David Schweickart asks whether there is another way forward for capitalism, one in which the choice isn't between the economy and life itself.

Does the deep state exist? Journalist Bruce Livesey investigates

The term 'deep state' has been used by both the political left and the right. In broad strokes, it means official leaders of a country aren't the real leaders — that hidden away in bureaucracies or other corridors of power are the real lever-pullers. Investigative journalist, Bruce Livesey examines the origins of the conflicted term, and where it's in operation today.

Lessons off Broadway: Princeton professor dissects zeitgeist in musicals

The Broadway musical is an art form both beloved and maligned. Whether you love it or hate it, the Broadway musical has the power to tap into the zeitgeist, capturing and propelling social change. Princeton musical theatre scholar Stacy Wolf takes host Nahlah Ayed on a tour of the hidden power of musicals from the 1950s to today.

Massey Lectures inspires Grade 7 student to teach classmates about sexism

Twelve-year-old Gwendolyn Allen attended the final 2019 CBC Massey Lecture in Toronto and asked the last question of the night: she wanted to know how to get the boys to pay attention to her presentation on sexism. Armstrong answered and then said: "I'm coming to your school."
CBC Massey Lectures

The 2019 CBC Massey Lectures| Power Shift: The Longest Revolution

The celebrated journalist and author Sally Armstrong delivers this year's CBC Massey Lectures. "Power Shift: The Longest Revolution” explores the story of women’s place in the world today, how we got here, and what we can expect from the future. She argues gender inequality comes at too high a cost for all of us.

Sally Armstrong: 'Women's history is flawed'

Sally Armstrong has been advocating for women's rights for decades. The journalist says she thought she'd covered every study that had ever been done on women — but was surprised to find more. She shares a few ways women have been sidelined in history and in research.

Sally Armstrong describes the moment that defined her journalistic career

Sally Armstrong devoted her journalism career to issues around women after working in Sarajevo in 1992 and '93. While covering the effect of war on children, she heard rumours of rape camps. After credible sources confirmed hearing about these camps, Armstrong knew she had to follow through.

Fighting for democracy from the bottom up | Astra Taylor, Pt 2

Filmmaker, writer and activist Astra Taylor sets out to answer a question we rarely ask: what is democracy? Her conclusion: democracy doesn't exist — at least, not quite. And yet, she says, it's still worth fighting for. Taylor takes us on a walking tour in New York searching for the meaning of democracy. Part 2 of a two-part series.

Debate | Do baby boomers owe millennials an apology?

British sociologist Jennie Bristow debates U.S. author Bruce Cannon Gibney over the baby boom generation and its legacy for the world. Should boomers be held responsible for high house prices, the climate crisis, national debts and the woes of millennials?

Lonely Together: The plight of urban isolation

There have never been as many cities across the world as there are right now, nor with such high populations. Yet urban loneliness is a virtual pandemic, and one with huge social, medical and financial consequences. Why are cities the new capitals of isolation?

'We continue to be feared': Kamal Al-Solayee on why being brown matters to everyone

In a compelling conversation, acclaimed journalist and author Kamal Al-Solayee discusses all things brown, from the psychology of the colour, to why he says, it’s always 'a bridesmaid, never the bride,' in the constructed hierarchy of human skin tone. 

Wishful dreaming: Freud and the discovery of our inner life

Sigmund Freud had many radical ideas about our inner life and how mental illness and trauma might be treated. Perhaps his most radical idea was that the patient should be listened to. This episode features a panel discussion at the Stratford Festival about the current state of Freud's legacy on self-knowledge.

The Enright Files: Opera singers on their place in a grand tradition

Opera may have a reputation as being highbrow and snooty but it was intended as popular entertainment — music for everyone. On this episode of The Enright Files, conversations with opera singers about their art and their place in a grand tradition.

Democracy may not truly exist, but it's still worth fighting for: Astra Taylor

Canadian-American filmmaker and writer Astra Taylor admits that for most of her life the term "democracy" held little appeal. But when she took on the what-is-democracy question, her inquiry turned into a belief that while it may not fully exist, democracy is still worth fighting for.

Psychologists confront impossible finding, triggering a revolution in the field

In 2011, American psychologist Daryl Bem proved the impossible. He showed that precognition — the ability to sense the future — is real. His study was explosive, and shook the very foundations of psychology. Contributor Alexander B. Kim in Vancouver explores the ‘replication crisis’ and what it means for the field and beyond.

IDEAS schedule for November 2019

Highlights include: award-winning author Kamal Al-Solaylee on what it means to be brown in the world today (Nov 6); Boomer-bashing: Is it fair to blame a generation? (Nov 8); Sally Armstrong's CBC Massey Lectures: Power Shift: The Longest Revolution (Nov 11-15): and how climate change is threatening the complex ecosystems of deserts (Nov 22).

Monster buff Leonardo da Vinci would have loved Halloween

Leonardo da Vinci would have loved Halloween. The renaissance artist and engineer was also a monster buff. Writer and historian Ross King unveils da Vinci’s sketches and stories of monsters, beasts, giants and dragons, and explains how the artist’s views on fantasy were in contrast to an increasingly rational age.

'Shouldn't there be a law against that?': Facing our fear of genetic innovation

Professor Bartha Knoppers is the 2019 recipient of the Henry G. Friesen International Prize for excellence in health research. Once a scholar of surrealist poetry, she has now become a world-renowned voice and a prolific researcher in the field of medical ethics.

The Jezebel Problem: What 'bossy' women should know about language

PhD graduate Laura Hare taught herself Biblical Hebrew so she could analyze male and female speech patterns in the original text of the Hebrew Bible (or Old Testament). She found the women characters consistently using language that shows deference to men. The only female biblical character who fully speaks ‘like a man’ also became an archetype of evil — Queen Jezebel.

What psychiatrists still don't know about mental illness

How can it be that psychiatry still doesn’t know what causes major mental problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia? Historian Anne Harrington and writer Marya Hornbacher explore psychiatry’s messy medical past and surprisingly uncertain present.

How refugee fathers cope with conflict trauma and resettling

Adnan Al-Mhamied was once a political dissident living in Syria. After the country collapsed into war, he fled to Montreal with his family and studied towards a master's in social work. His research reveals the 'silent suffering' of men who have escaped conflict zones with their families and resettled in an unfamiliar country.

Finding meaning in the universe with astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, Part 2

Astrophysicist Hubert Reeves is one of the world's leading experts on the Big Bang theory. But as IDEAS producer Mary Lynk found out, not only is the French-Canadian a brilliant cosmologist; he's also a riveting storyteller and popularizer of science. Not to explain the complex, he says, is undemocratic. This is part 2 of a 2-part series.

Finding meaning in the universe with astrophysicist Hubert Reeves, Part 1

Hubert Reeves is one of the world's foremost experts on the Big Bang and the origins of time. He lives in France, where the acclaimed astrophysicist has the status of a rock star. And yet he's largely unknown in the English-speaking world. Reeves is now 87, and speaks with producer Mary Lynk at his country home in Burgundy, outdoors and under the stars.

Forty years on, Edward Said's 'Orientalism' still groundbreaking

Edward Said's seminal book, Orientalism (1978), proposed one of the most influential and enduring analyses of the relationship between the West and the Middle East. In many ways, his ideas seem uncontroversial, perhaps even obvious today. But four decades ago, what Said proposed was radical. It still is.

Why too much logic leads to irrationality: Justin E. H. Smith

The Parisian-American philosopher Justin E. H. Smith speaks about the history of irrationality, and why it’s always been reason’s “twin.” He argues that attempts to impose the victory of reason always lead to explosions of irrationality, whether in our individual lives or at the level of society.