IDEAS for January 2018

Highlights this month include: an encore presentation of our series on"Us and Them: Diversity, Division, and a World of Difference" (January 8 - 12) featuring talks by Roberta Jamieson, Sisonke Msimang, Galia Sabar, Neera Chandhoke, and Aladin El-Mafalaani; "When Scotland Saved the World", (January 25) -- Paul Kennedy tells the story of the Scottish Enlightenment; and Ken Dryden on "Changing the Idea of Hockey" (January 5).

Monday, January 1
At the start of a brand new year, Paul Kennedy convenes our almost-annual IDEAS Levee, to talk with producers and contributors about shows that are planned for the days, weeks and months to come.

Tuesday, January 2
THE POLITICS OF THE PROFESSORIATE: Political diversity on campus
Universities are supposed to be dedicated to the exchange of ideas. But according to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, campuses now skew so far to the left that they've become what he calls "political monocultures" in which voices that stray too far from liberal orthodoxy are shouted down. Paul Kennedy speaks with Professor Haidt – and with other scholars who have been thinking about the complex question of diversity on campus.

Wednesday, January 3
THE ENRIGHT FILES: Suffering, sorrow and the search for meaning
Searching for the meaning and purpose of life is not a trivial pursuit. And that search becomes most urgent when people are confronted with tragedy, loss and grief. But as some of the world's great thinkers and writers have argued, there is great beauty and joy to be found in the truths that sorrow reveals. This month on The Enright Files, how the works of Viktor Frankl, Anton Chekhov and Joan Didion wrestle meaning and solace from horror and suffering.

Thursday, January 4
IN MY OWN WORDS: Stories of Indigenous struggle and resilience
The celebrated Indigenous writer Thomas King once said: "The truth about stories is, that's all we are." In this episode, we feature the voices of three Indigenous people whose lives embody the changing relationship between First Nations and the rest of Canada. The presentation has no interviewer. It's just them and their stories in their own words.

Friday, January 5
Game Change, the book written by NHL legend, Ken Dryden, is on one level about the increasing number of concussions hockey players have. But it's also about changing the way decision-makers make decisions. As he tells host Paul Kennedy, being right isn't enough. That's why Dryden has turned the old adage "where there's a will, there's a way" on its head. He argues passionately that if there's a way, there's a will. And the will to change the idea of what hockey actually means is more urgently needed than ever.

Monday, January 8
EYES ON THE BACKS OF OUR HEADS: Recovering a multicultural South Africa
Journalist and activist Sisonke Msimang speaks at a former prison complex in Johannesburg which once held Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela. The setting is apt: Sisonke believes that post-apartheid South Africa has become imprisoned by its own past — a past whites cannot recall and blacks cannot forget. With both a mischievous sense of humour and sharp historical analysis, she pulls down the old binarism of black and white to make way for a truly multicultural South Africa, one that welcomes other Africans as it embraces its own racially diverse past: "We are learning to scan the wreckage of our history and mine it for gold. To look for the connections between us, even as we walk with our eyes firmly fixed on the horizon. We are moving ever more sure-footed, towards making a South Africa in which we all belong."

Tuesday, January 9
THE NEW TRIBE OF ISRAEL: The immigrant underclass
Anthropologist Galia Sabar has devoted her professional life to what she calls the new tribe of Israel: Jewish-African and non-Jewish labour migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. Her work with these vulnerable communities earned her a distinction that occurs only once every four to five years: the Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award, given by the Dalai Lama. Galia believes that Israel must be vigilant about its security. But it also has a moral duty, as a state established for Jews persecuted as "the ultimate Other", to be humane and welcoming to the disadvantaged: "Jewish tradition in its core has mechanisms of living with disagreements. Why can't there be a plural way of celebrating being Jewish, or for the Muslims and the Christians as well? That is something we have to scream out loud! It's a gift that we have. And we have to practise it here first within ourselves -- and then we can export that idea."

Wednesday, January 10
Political scientist Neera Chandhoke makes a heartfelt argument for a secular India at a talk delivered in Mumbai. Against the growing tide of Hindu nationalism and India's history of inter-religious strife, she draws on Western and Indian thinkers to make the case for diversity — not simply a social nicety, but as a condition for civilization itself. According to Neera, diversity means that a society is continually questioning itself. Those that don't embrace diversity cease to grow and eventually ossify. Yet Neera isn't against religious worldviews. In her vision of a secular state, all religions have a legitimate place. Because all religions seek the truth, none can fully lay claim to having all of it, and therefore there is space left for all: "The opposite of secularism is not communism. It is theocracy". And theocratic states are both violent and stifling, dull places to live — or as she concludes: "monochromatic." 

Thursday, January 11
FIGHTING AT THE TABLE: Conflict as successful integration
Sociologist Aladin El-Mafaalani has a counter-intuitive view of anti-immigrant rhetoric and politics. He sees them as a sign that integration is working. Conflict, he argues in his talk delivered in Berlin, is the necessary consequence of new arrivals at a metaphoric dinner table. The more people taking their place at the table, the more jostling and conflict there inevitably will be. While conflict can of course lead to violence, or even war, conflict in and of itself is neutral. But it's a necessary a stage of maturing societies. And those which have no conflict tend to be top-down authoritarian states which coerce their populations into obedience. He admits that he does have friends who love walls. But — he adds wryly — "they're archaeologists." 

Friday, January 12
CANADA'S ORIGINAL PROMISE: Still waiting to be realized
Mohawk education advocate Roberta Jamieson was the first woman chief of Six Nations of the Grand River, the first Indigenous woman to earn a law degree in Canada, and she holds an astounding twenty-five honorary degrees. She believes Canada is at a make-or-break historical moment where it has a chance to recast its historically toxic relationship with First Nations for the next 150 years. She sees the hope for that renewal in the very moment of contact between settler Europeans and her ancestors: "Our people consciously decided to share. And we had a choice. We were the majority then. And we made a conscious decision to share. And to help people survive. So I think we still have that choice as Canadians. And I'm very optimistic and very hopeful -- and I'm going to work very hard to see that we live up to that promise." 

Monday, January 15
OLD MASTERS: Decoding Prehistoric Art
The songs and the stories of prehistoric humans are lost. Virtually all that remains of their culture is the paintings they made deep inside caves. But what do these images actually reveal about the people who made them? In this episode, contributor Neil Sandell meets the renowned French archaeologist Jean Clottes, whose insights have upended long-held assumptions about the very beginnings of art and how it evolved.

Tuesday, January 16
Canadians like to pretend that Indigenous peoples have some special place, that they shape our society in some significant way, but history—as well as contemporary actions and attitudes— might suggest otherwise. The Idle No More movement was a wake-up call for many; in a country where just about all of us are immigrants, Canada's Indigenous peoples are creating new structures and rediscovering old values. A discussion from the Stratford Festival featuring writer/activist/scholars Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, Jarrett Martineau and Alexandra Wilson.

Wednesday, January 17
THE NEW MASTERS 2017: The best of Canada's contemporary young artists
Artists are, in many ways, our cultural seers. At the core of great art is a wrestling with profound issues and ideas facing society. Meet the five fascinating artists — from across the country — who are the 2017 finalists and winner of the prestigious Sobey Art Award.  A $110,000 prize —  including the top prize of $50,000 — judged by highly respected Canadian and International curators. Part 2 airs Wednesday, January 24.

Thursday, January 18
AUTONOMY: The unexpected implications of self-driving vehicles
We're racing down the highway to autonomous cars, whether it takes ten, twenty or thirty years.  But what happens to our economy, the shape of our cities, and even our century-old car-centric culture once the vehicles arrive? Contributing producer Sean Prpick steers through the excitement, opportunities, roadblocks, and unmarked curves as we are driven into the future by a technology that may understand us better than we understand it.

Friday, January 19
Donald Trump's inauguration in January 2017 inspired many Americans to reflect on what America actually is. Contributor David Zane Mairowitz is originally from New York, but has been living in Europe for over fifty years. He returned to the U.S. to travel through five states of the South, a region he'd never been to before, to record his encounters with everyday people in the aim of gaining insight into an America he's now struggling to understand. 

Monday, January 22
No one wants to be called a liar. Or worse, to be caught lying. Yet lying is something we all do, often without even realizing it. IDEAS producer Nicola Luksic looks at our instinct to lie, why we do it, how we teach children to do the same -- and why it can sometimes be a good thing. 

Tuesday, January 23
In our age, many societies look like they're hurtling towards disorder and disunity. For all of our technological sophistication, the centre isn't holding, great civilisations seem less united than ever. Wade Davis, one of Canada's foremost anthropologists (and the 2009 CBC Massey lecturer) thinks we need to pay more attention to the values, the voices, and the concerns of Indigenous peoples. We have a lot to learn by listening more carefully. Wade Davis in a discussion with Paul Kennedy, with excerpts from a lecture at the Ontario Heritage Trust.

Wednesday, January 24
THE NEW MASTERS 2017: The best of Canada's contemporary young artists
Artists are, in many ways, our cultural seers. At the core of great art is a wrestling with profound issues and ideas facing society. Meet the five fascinating artists - from across the country - who are the 2017 finalists and winner of the prestigious Sobey Art Award.  A $100,000 prize judged by top Canadian and International curators. Part 2 of a 2-part series. 

Thursday, January 25
Approximately 200 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. Host Paul Kennedy walks up and down 'The Royal Mile', and through the planned streets and elegant squares of Edinburgh's 'New Town" in search of places once occupied or visited by the likes of Adam Smith, David Hume, James Boswell and Robert Burns. Among other places, we'll visit the spots where the Encyclopaedia Britannica was born (the Royal Society of Edinburgh), and where modern surgery was developed (the University of Edinburgh Medical School).

Friday, January 26
LIBERTY LEADING THE PEOPLE:  The rise of the extreme right in France
The famous painting by Delacroix shows a triumphant Liberté, with a French flag, urging her army towards us, the viewers. We can either join them, or flee. The painting celebrates the July revolution of 1830, and since then Liberté herself has become an enduring icon of France. But with the rise of the extreme right and le Front National, where is France heading now?

Monday, January 29
The buying and selling of weapons is a huge, secretive business around the world — for aerospace and defence companies, and black market profiteers alike. In 2001, Andrew Feinstein resigned as an ANC politician in South Africa, after demanding an investigation of graft at the highest levels of his own government around a questionable arms deal. Now Feinstein heads Corruption Watch, and NGO based in the UK. In his talk for the University of British Columbia's Wall Exchange series, he argues that the arms trade does not make the world more secure. He describes a shadowy world of power and greed that fuels conflict, undermines economic progress and democracy, and -- with its unintended consequences — endangers people everywhere.

Tuesday, January 30
AI and robots seem to be everywhere, handling more and more work, freeing humans up — to  do what? Contributor Jill Eisen takes a wide-angle lens to the digital revolution happening in our working lives. She starts in the nineteenth century, when the Industrial Revolution saw the triumph of machine power over muscle power. Now artificial intelligence is on the verge of replacing our own intelligence. It took decades to adjust to machines out-performing human and animal labour. What will happen when robots and algorithms surpass what our brains can do? Some say digital sweatshops — repetitive, dull, poorly paid and insecure jobs — are our destiny. But others believe that  technology could lead to more fulfilling lives. **This episode is Part 1 of series. Part 2 airs Tuesday, February 6; Part 3 airs Tuesday, February 13.

Wednesday, January 31
LITTLE CRIMINALS, TUBAS AND PAUL NEWMAN: How life lessons from an eccentric father shaped a novelist
Acclaimed writer Heather O'Neill's father was a janitor, but listed his occupation as professor of philosophy, and he offered a series of unusual rules for life as she grew up in Montreal.  In her Henry Kreisel Lecture at the Canadian Literature Centre in Edmonton, and in conversation, she talks about unexpected muses and mentors, being a 'problem' reader, and how some idiosyncratic lessons prepared her to cross the class divide.


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