Ideas for November 2016
Monday, October 31 - November 4
THE 2016 CBC MASSEY LECTURES - THE RETURN OF HISTORY
In his 1989 essay The End of History? American thinker Francis Fukuyama suggested that Western liberal democracy was the endpoint of our political evolution, the best and final system to emerge after thousands of years of trial and error. Fukuyama seems to have been wrong: our recent history -- filled with terrorism and war, rising inequity and the mass flight of populations -- suggests that we've failed to create any sort of global formula for lasting peace and social equity. In the 2016 CBC Massey Lectures, Jennifer Welsh explores how pronouncements about the "end of history" may have been premature.
Monday, November 7
MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN
As Americans prepare to vote after perhaps the wildest presidential campaign in history, we present a Munk Debate from earlier this fall. The resolution: "Be it resolved, Donald Trump can make America great again." Arguing in favour, politician Newt Gingrich and talk-show host Laura Ingraham. Their opponents, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and former governor Jennifer Granholm.
Tuesday, November 8
PONDERING THE PATRIATION
Thirty years after pivotal constitutional negotiations in 1981, an Edmonton conference brought together many of the original participants to consider what happened and how it changed Canadian history. Now it's 35 years later, and the questions still matter. (An encore presentation. IDEAS may be pre-empted in some parts of Canada by coverage of the American election)
Wednesday, November 9
IDEAS FROM THE TRENCHES: TOO DUMB FOR DEMOCRACY
Producers Tom Howell and Nicola Luksic meet University of British Columbia student David Moscrop. He argues that modern democracy just isn't built right for our brains. and so it dooms us into dumb thinking. He's got an idea for fixing that.
Thursday, November 10
MARCONI: The Man Who Networked the World
Our phones, our laptops, even our cars communicate invisibly through the air. Our wireless world owes thanks to an Italian teenager who went on to win the Nobel Prize and changed how wars were fought. But Guglielmo Marconi also supported the rise of Italian fascism. McGill Professor Marc Raboy has just published a major biography of Marconi and he takes IDEAS producer David Gutnick on a tour of Marconi's influences in Montreal.
Friday, November 11
ENEMIES & ANGELS
When Najah Aboud got wounded during the Iran-Iraq war, he crawled into a bunker to die. It was there that the Iraqi soldier was found by Iranian medic, Zahed Haftlang. Zahed made a split-second decision: to save his enemy's life. So he risked his own -- twice -- to get Najah to a field hospital. Neither man knew that nearly twenty years later, and on the other side of the world, a breathtaking coincidence would reunite them in another life-saving encounter.
Monday, November 14
THE ENRIGHT FILES - The uncertain future of journalism and why it matters
Whether it's radio, television, print or online, anyone who works in journalism can feel the ground shifting under their feet. The business model of news has been radically disrupted by the Internet age, and yet, the mandate of journalism remains the same: to uncover and report the truth and hold power to account.
Tuesday, November 15
WACHTEL ON THE ARTS
A monthly IDEAS feature with CBC Radio's celebrated arts journalist Eleanor Wachtel. Each month, she takes an in-depth look at what's new, exciting and important in film, opera, the visual arts, theatre, dance and architecture.
Wednesday, November 16 - Thursday, November 17
WIT'S END, Part 1 &2
What's it like to go mad and be crazy, living at wit's end? First comes diagnosis, followed by treatment. Then there's stigma and stereotyping. This two-part series looks at mental illness, past and present, theory and practice, from asylums to labs in neuroscience. Marilyn Powell talks to those dealing with mental illness with their own truth to tell.
Friday, November 18
WAGER OF THE GODS
The novel Fifteen Dogs by André Alexis won the 2015 Giller Prize. The premise is a bet between Apollo and Hermes: if dogs were given language, would they be any happier than humans? What follows is a whimsical, dark and penetrating tour of ideas -- about consciousness, time, belonging, mortality, art and love. André Alexis talks to host Paul Kennedy about the philosophical underpinnings of his prize-winning book -- featuring readings by the author himself.
Monday, November 21
LIKE I WAS TALKING TO MYSELF IN THE MIRROR
Early in the twentieth century German psychiatrist Emil Kraepelin travelled to Indonesia to see how mental illnesses there compared to what he knew back home. Transcultural psychiatry was born. Today McGill University is a world leader in the research and practice of a branch of psychiatry with links to anthropology, cultural studies and family therapy. David Gutnick steps into a world where treatment relies less on medication and more on talk and understanding.
Tuesday, November 22
THE TEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE
It's never been easier to banish the feeling of boredom -- at least for a moment. But some fear our weapons of mass distraction could lead to an epidemic of ennui and ADD. Contributor Peter Mitton examines boredom and discovers a little-understood universal state of mind. From its obvious downsides and unexpected upsides, to its evolutionary origins and the way it's shaping our future -- boredom is anything but dull.
Wednesday, November 23
THE MATTER OF MEAT
Eating meat: some say we've evolved to do it. It's in our DNA. It's how we got our big brains. Yet others, including Pythagoras in the 6th century BC, and even Dr. Frankenstein's "monster", have argued that eating meat is bad for our bodies, cruel to animals, and toxic to the planet. Now -- perhaps more than ever -- clear-cut answers can be hard to come by when it comes to the matter of meat. Kevin Ball serves up the arguments.
Thursday, November 24
GENETICS AND POETICS
Words on a page -- that's usually how we conceive of poetry. But Christian Bök, at the University of Calgary, has done something no other writer has ever done: as part of his recent project, The Xenotext, he's enciphered a poem into a micro-organism, which then "rewrote" that poem as part of its biological response. His eventual hope is to encode a poem inside a near-indestructible bacterium (deinococcus radiodurans) which may actually outlast human civilization.
Friday, November 25
IS THAT ALL THERE IS? THE CHALLENGE OF SCIENCE
Science helps us understand ourselves and our own place in the cosmos. But how far does the math take us, and what do science and the humanities tell us when we look at the same questions from different points of view? From the Stratford Festival, a discussion between physicist Neil Turok, science writer Margaret Wertheim and philosopher Mark Kingwell. (And don't worry: they all agree - the world really does exist and so do you.)
Monday, November 28
IT'S THE ECONOMISTS, STUPID
Interest rates. Unemployment. GDP. Markets. Austerity measures. Economists tell us what we, as societies, can and can't afford. But how do they decide? What values are at play? IDEAS producer Mary O'Connell speaks with two economists about how modern mantras on the economy limit our choices and shut down civic debate.
Tuesday, November 29
IDEAS FROM THE TRENCHES - The Dangerous Game
As a teen and then in her 20s, Emma Vosen loved gaming. Now as a PhD candidate, she looks to gamer culture as a microcosm of how sexism is seeded and replicated within broader society. This is the latest in our Ideas from the Trenches series, exploring the exciting insights of PhD students across the country.
Wednesday, November 30
THE 2016 KILLAM PRIZE
They are considered academic Titans. Their research challenges conventions and creates new ways of thinking. Once a year, the Governor General of Canada awards five scholars with the Canada Council Killam prize, recognizing their outstanding contributions to their fields. Host Paul Kennedy learns about their work.