Ideas

Ideas for July 2019

Highlights include: Canadian artist Kent Monkman on "Decolonizing Art History" (July 5); writer Michael Pollan on the therapeutic use of pscyhedelic drugs (July 11) and global thinker Yuval Harari on "Hacking Humanity" (July 15).

Monday, July 1
FLIRTING WITH FASCISM: AMERICA'S NEW PATH
We've heard it so much that it's almost become a cliché: America is on the road to fascism.  The debate over that claim continues, but renowned scholar Henry Giroux argues that "Donald Trump is not just some impulsive rich guy who marketed his way into politics through empty Kardashian-style consumer culture." Trump needed followers. And he got them. Now what?

Tuesday, July 2
FIVE FREEDOMS: FREEDOM TO BELIEVE
Faith and spiritual traditions have always shaped our ideas of right and wrong, both in the private and the public sphere. How do the values that come from faith shape secular society — and should they? And are social values necessarily secular? Journalist Haroon Siddiqui, Sto:Lo First Nation writer Lee Maracle, and writer Michael Coren debate the issues.

Wednesday, July 3
THE NERVE, Part 1
From the team behind the Peabody-Award-winning documentary The Wire, another sonic adventure series exploring the beauty and mysteries of our relationship with music.  Episode 1 of The Nerve: Music & the Human Experience focuses on music and the brain. The Nerve first aired in 2008, and is presented by Jowi Taylor.

Thursday, July 4
MOST OF WHAT FOLLOWS IS TRUE: Michael Crummey on writing and the relationship between fact and fiction
What does a novelist owe to the past? How does a writer walk the tightrope between telling a story and accurately reflecting history and geography? Acclaimed novelist Michael Crummey reflects on these questions in the annual Henry Kreisel Lecture in Edmonton, presented by the Canadian Literature Centre at the University of Alberta. 

Friday, July 5
KENT MONKMAN: DECOLONIZING ART HISTORY
It's easy to identify a painting by Kent Monkman. His work is almost always monumental. Some of his canvasses are so big that buildings need to be built around them. Beyond that, Monkman often works with historical subjects — either quoting famous images from the history of art, or playing with real historical events by situating them in paintings that reflect obvious artistic references. Kent Monkman talks with Paul Kennedy about his life and work, and how to have fun while making serious statements about the world we live in.



Monday, July 8
MYTHOLOGIZING EMPIRE
For people of Shakespeare's time, the idea of "empire" was something new. As Britain's power spread, the eternal questions remained: what makes a great empire successful, and what pitfalls need to be watched out for? No ancient empire offered more lessons than the Roman Empire — which had, of course, conquered Britain. In his plays set in the Roman Empire, Shakespeare explored themes of leadership, human frailty, political downfall, while at the same time mythologizing the birth of a new Rome in Britain. 

Tuesday, July 9
FIVE FREEDOMS: FREEDOM TO SPEAK
Fanned by the internet, the war over our right to say anything at all has created silos of intolerance. Fewer people are listening to differing points of view. And with less dialogue, nothing changes. But are there things that should not be said?  A discussion with former politician Sheila Copps, human rights lawyer Micheal Vonn and journalist Althia Raj.

Wednesday, July 10
THE NERVE, Part 2
From the team behind the Peabody-Award-winning documentary The Wire, another sonic adventure series exploring the beauty and mysteries of our relationship with music. Episode 2 of The Nerve: Music & the Human Experience considers music and evolution.  The Nerve first aired in 2008, and is presented by Jowi Taylor.

Thursday, July 11
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.

Friday, July 12
TALKING WITH DR. DAVID NAYLOR: Winner of the 2018 Friesen Prize
Although he's not yet officially eligible to collect his pension, Dr. David Naylor is already President Emeritus of the University of Toronto — having occupied the office itself for eight turbulent years from 2005 - 2013. Before that, Naylor was Dean of Medicine at U of T, and Chair of the National Advisory Committee on SARS. Right now, he's interim head of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. And he was recently awarded the 2018 Henry G. Friesen Prize for Health Science Research. David Naylor talks with Paul Kennedy about his life and work, and about his recent Friesen Prize Lecture at the University of Ottawa.
 



Monday, July 15
YUVAL HARARI: HACKING HUMANITY
Yuval Harari is a global intellectual. And the internationally bestselling author is worried: our brains are getting hacked. Artificial intelligence, biotechnology and ever-sophisticated algorithms are tapping into our values, habits, tastes, desires and the very thought patterns that define us — all to control how we shop, what we read, and whom we vote for. The notion of free will is defunct.  And the grand project of liberalism, with its focus on the individual, is worn out. But in this exclusive interview with Paul Kennedy, he explains why he remains cautiously optimistic about humanity's future.

Tuesday, July 16
FIVE FREEDOMS: FREEDOM FROM OPPRESSION
Oppression takes many forms. It can be political or cultural, or even social. There's the weight of inherited oppression, and there's the question of how oppression shapes who we are — both individually and collectively. This episode features a discussion with Bhutila Karpoche an Ontario politician of Tibetan heritage, Eloge Butera  a government lawyer and a refugee from Rwanda, and Christina Gray a Dene-Metis lawyer.

Wednesday, July 17
THE NERVE, Part 3
From the team behind the Peabody-Award-winning documentary The Wire, another sonic adventure series exploring the beauty and mysteries of our relationship with music.  Episode 3 of The Nerve: Music & the Human Experience looks at music and war. The Nerve first aired in 2008, and is presented by Jowi Taylor.

Thursday, July 18
HOW THE KILLAM FAMILY 'INVENTED' CANADIAN CULTURE
Once upon a time, Izaak Walton Killam was the richest man in Canada, although he guarded his privacy even more carefully than he stockpiled his profits. He died in 1955. His wife Dorothy was almost the opposite — an American, a bit of a social butterfly, and even more keen, in the decade after her husband's death, to expand the family wealth. In the end, the Killams basically bankrolled the Canada Council, and created the Killam Trusts. To this day, very few people know much about them, although their considerable fortune was fundamental for the mid-20th century flowering of the arts and sciences in this country.

Friday, July 19
PUSHING THE FRONTIERS OF KNOWLEDGE: The 2018 Killam Prize
Each year, up to five Killam Prizes of $100,000 each are awarded to Canadian scholars who have made "substantial and significant" contribution to their field of studies in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, health sciences or engineering. This year's five recipients come from across Canada. Their areas of study include linguistics to physics, medicine to film. Meet the five brilliant Canadian thinkers who are setting the standard for their fields both in Canada and internationally.
 



Monday, July 22
ROSS KING ON THE ART OF HISTORY
Ross King is one of the most popular historians Canada has ever produced. Yet originally, he wanted to be a novelist. And after researching his doctoral thesis on T. S. Eliot, he published his first book, which fictionalized the story of a castrato singer in 18th century London, as seen through the eyes of an aspiring painter. King says he discovered that it was more fun to write when you didn't need to "make up the facts."

Tuesday, July 23
FIVE FREEDOMS: FREEDOM FROM WANT
Poverty has always been a defining issue in the quest to build a better world. How do we go about making things more equitable, making sure that wealth is distributed to those in need and creating opportunity for the weak to become strong? Journalist Sally Armstrong, healthcare activist James Orbinski and former diplomat Paul Heinbecker discuss a thorny issue.

Wednesday, July 24
THE NERVE, Part 4
From the team behind the Peabody-Award-winning documentary The Wire, another sonic adventure series exploring the beauty and mysteries of our relationship with music. Episode 4 of The Nerve: Music & the Human Experience reflects on music and spirituality. The Nerve first aired in 2008, and is presented by Jowi Taylor.

Thursday, July 25
THE RECURRING CASE OF 'RECURSION'
Some call it "self-similarity." Others define it vaguely as "wheels within wheels" or refer to the image of nesting Russian dolls. For such a fundamental concept, recursion is strangely less famous and more often overlooked than it deserves to be. With help from a cognitive scientist, a language expert, and a physicist, Paul Kennedy tries to remedy this state of affairs, without getting himself tied up in knots within knots within knots…

Friday, July 26
TOO LATE TO FIND HOPE WITHIN THE ANTHROPOCENE?
In Paul Kennedy's final week at IDEAS, he looks back at his five decades with the show. To represent the years from 2000 to 2009, he convenes a special session of the Muskoka Summit on the Environment. Panelists: Edward Burtynsky is one of the world's most accomplished photographers, and a major proponent behind the movement to call this the "Anthropocene Era"; Henry Lickers served for thirty years as Director of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne's Department of Environment, and was recently appointed as the first Indigenous member of the International Joint Commission; and Nadia Mykytczuk is a Laurentian University microbiologist who is developing bioremediation technology to clean up toxic mining sites around the world. From their diverse vantage points, panelists will consider two key questions: are we doomed? And what can we do to avoid being doomed?
 



Monday, July 29
THE 2018 CBC MASSEY LECTURES: ALL OUR RELATIONS, PT 1
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. For Tanya Talaga, that cultural genocide has led to a forced disconnection from land and language by Indigenous peoples. The need now, she says, is for Indigenous self-determination in social, cultural and political arenas. Many communities, in Canada and abroad, are finding that the road back to a relationship with land and language are keys to community healing — to what in fact it means to be Indigenous.

Tuesday, July 30
FIVE FREEDOMS: FREEDOM FROM LIES
Freedom of the press is a Holy Grail in Western societies, supposedly giving us the facts about what's happening in the world. But in an era of fake news, post-truth and a 24-hour news cycle, what are journalists to hang onto? A discussion with journalists Susan Ormiston and Desmond Cole, and writer Linda McQuaig.

Wednesday, July 31
THE NERVE, Part 5
From the team behind the Peabody-Award-winning documentary The Wire, another sonic adventure series exploring the beauty and mysteries of our relationship with music. Episode 5 of The Nerve: Music & the Human Experience considers music and identity. The Nerve first aired in 2008, and is presented by Jowi Taylor.