The Sunday Magazinewith Piya Chattopadhyay


The Sunday Magazine for January 17, 2021

Host Piya Chattopadhyay explores how the U.S. will try to "build back better," chats with James Nestor about the lost science and art of breathing, learns why Dan Holohan is advocating for the return of the steam radiator and shares postcards from the frontlines of the pandemic.

Joe Biden's monumental task to 'build back better'

President-elect Joe Biden has promised to build the United States back "better" after he takes office on Jan. 20. But what exactly does that look like? And how can it be achieved in a country that just saw armed Trump supporters storm the Capitol to protest Biden's election — where racism and deep racial divides persist, and where COVID-19 continues its stranglehold?

'Breathe through your nose all the time,' says the science journalist James Nestor

We do it 25,000 times a day … and barely even think about it. But there's a lost science and art to breathing, and rediscovering it can do wonders for your physical health, and overall well-being. That's what journalist James Nestor discovered in his deep dive into the science and history of breathing. He talks to Piya Chattopadhyay all about breathing and shares some simple ways to improve yours.

Advocating for the return of the steam radiator

When Dan Hollohan set out to learn about the history of the steam radiator, he never imagined he'd be advocating for its return. But COVID-19 changed all that. He speaks to Piya Chattopadhyay about what we can learn today from the strange and fascinating story of the radiator, and the fresh air movement that took hold during another great health crisis: the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

Postcards from frontline healthcare workers

In a week where COVID-19 cases continue to mount, Quebec remains under curfew and Ontario has imposed a new stay-at-home order. We head to the frontlines, where medical professionals combating the pandemic tell us what they are seeing and how it is affecting them.

The Sunday Magazine for January 10, 2021

Host Piya Chattopadhyay speaks to Tom Ginsburg about what the future might hold for the United States given the current condition of its democratic institutions. Plus, Javad Soleimani, Payam Akhavan and Golsa Golestaneh on the downing of Ukrainain International Airlines Flight 752, one year later.

International law expert Tom Ginsburg on the future of U.S. democracy

After the events at the U.S. Capitol this week, host Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Tom Ginsburg, a scholar of international law and political science and co-author of the 2018 book How to Save a Constitutional Democracy, about the state and future of his country's democratic institutions.

What makes a 'good mother'? Writer Ashley Audrain explores the dark side of motherhood

In her debut novel, The Push, writer Ashley Audrain takes those taboo feelings about motherhood — the doubt, the loneliness, the way you suddenly dislike your spouse — and cranks them all the way up.

The downing of PS752 one year later

Piya Chattopadhyay speaks to Javad Soleimani, a young man living in Edmonton who lost his wife in the crash, Payam Akhavan, a renowned international law expert , and Golsa Golestaneh, a young Iranian-Canadian woman, who wrote a poem about a year of tumult and suffering in her home country. 

What object sums up YOUR pandemic experience?

It's been  another hard week of COVID news … from mounting case numbers to a new curfew in Quebec to continued school closures.  But our listeners have given us something different to think about when it comes to the pandemic.  Following a conversation last week with a Smithsonian curator grappling with what artifacts to collect to document the time we're in, we put a call out to hear what objects YOU would choose to remember this time by.  And your answers were, quite frankly, heartwarming.

Why so many left, returned and then left Hong Kong again

Before Hong Kong switched hands from Britain to China in 1997, many city residents left, worried about the city's future under Chinese control. But then the handover happened, and the political climate appeared more stable than feared. So many of the people who had left Hong Kong came back. But now, more than 20 years later, concerns are back about Chinese control and what it means for Hong Kong and its residents. And many of those same people are now moving out of Hong Kong, again. Kennedy Wong studied this "re-return migration" as a student at the University of British Columbia, and sits down with Common to talk about the political forces and personal choices that have led many Hong Kong residents around the globe to move away and back — then away again.

My very 2020 year

2020 is finally in the rearview mirror, and that has a lot of people heaving a huge sigh of relief. With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on our daily lives, it was a hard year for many. Stephanie Elliott calls it 'relentless.' Her 2020 was not only shaped by the pandemic, but also other major news events of the year, including the politics south of the border, and the wildfires raging in the western United States. Elliott reflects on her very 2020 year, which ultimately brought her home to Canada.

The difficulty of preserving pandemic stories while we're still living them

When you think of rapid response teams in the context of a pandemic, you probably don't think: museum curators. But when a novel coronavirus began to take hold last February, curators around the world fired up their teams to collect what they could, as quickly as they could. Common speaks with Smithsonian Institution curator Alexandra Lord about the challenge of collecting and preserving objects that tell the COVID-19 story ... while we're still living it.

How the pandemic is making work and sleep strange bedfellows

Beatriz Colomina, co-author of The Century of the Bed joins Piya Chattopadhyay to talk about the changing meaning of beds, and how work has entered the bedroom and sleep has entered work in the time of COVID-19.

Immunity, vaccination and the common good: a prescient book is helping people make sense of the pandemic

As the need for a COVID-19 vaccine and fears about vaccination intensify simultaneously, people are turning to Eula Biss's 2014 book On Immunity to better understand this moment. Biss tells Piya Chattopadhyay about the underlying fears driving vaccine skepticism, how she confronted her own fears as a mother and why she believes vaccination is something we owe each other in an interdependent society.

The Sunday Magazine for January 3, 2021

Guest host David Common speaks to Smithsonian Institution curator Alexandra Lord about collecting COVID-19 stories and Kennedy Wong about migration to and from Hong Kong. Plus, Stephanie Elliott talks about why 2020 brought her back to Canada, Eula Biss on immunity and Beatriz Colomina on why beds have also become workspaces.

How we remember the past while adapting to a new normal

2020 has been an abnormal year. It's introduced sweeping changes to the rhythms and routines of our daily lives. But, the speed at which we humans adapt can be both a blessing and a curse. That's something environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth knows well. When Demuth contracted COVID-19, she didn't realise that the symptoms would linger on for months — also known as "long COVID." Demuth explores the dangers of adapting too quickly and forgetting what "healthy" felt like — both in terms of the pandemic and climate change.

What senior citizens can tell us about 2020

Loneliness, grief and resilience are regular themes that emerge from 2020. These themes are especially pertinent for those most vulnerable in our society. We speak to a panel of senior citizens who share these two things — they're in their 70s and they're living alone. As part of a end-of-year panel conversation, Common hears from these seniors located across Canada about their experiences of this year.

25 years of the Toronto Raptors: how they helped shape & reflect contemporary Canada

Doug Smith has covered the Toronto Raptors for the Toronto Star since the team was founded in 1995. He speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about his book reflecting on that journey, We the North, how the Canadian expansion team came to be crowned NBA champions and how the Raps have helped shape and reflect contemporary Canada.

The Sunday Magazine for December 27, 2020

Guest host David Common speaks with environmental historian Bathsheba Demuth about the concept of "shifting baselines," and 3 senior citizens talk about their experiences during the pandemic. Plus, Canadian writer and environmental historian Jessica J. Lee talks about her memoir Two Trees Make a Forest and sports reporter Doug Smith discusses 25 years of the Toronto Raptors.

In Taiwan's lush landscape, Jessica J. Lee found a deeper understanding of her family's turbulent history

In her memoir Two Trees Make a Forest, Canadian writer and environmental historian Jessica J. Lee returns to her mother's homeland of Taiwan to understand the landscape that shaped her family. The book intertwines her grandparents' histories, the political history of Taiwan, and the island's geological history. She speaks with Piya about home, multiplicity and belonging.

The Sunday Magazine for December 20, 2020

Piya Chattopadhyay speaks to legendary children's entertainer Raffi, sociologist Lynne Murphy, Karina Vernon who has created the anthology The Black Prairie Archives and sociologist Juliet Schor.

Baby Beluga's 40th anniversary: Why Raffi thinks we need to 'build back better' from the pandemic

It’s been 40 years since Raffi released his defining song Baby Beluga. After decades of entertaining thousands of children, the outspoken singer-songwriter reflects on the tragedies of 2020, the state of North American politics and his claim that having faith in children is the key to a sustainable future.

The prairies' forgotten history of Black life and culture

As a child in rural Alberta, Karina Vernon thought she and her sister might be the only Black people in the prairies. Years later, she stumbled across a description of a Black fur trader on the Athabasca River, and her conception of the region was forever changed. Her anthology, The Black Prairie Archives, includes poetry, fiction, farming journals, editorials, and song lyrics from 1790 to the present.

How we processed 2020 through language

In the final instalment of our ongoing language segment Word Processing for this year, we get meta by looking at how we processed 2020 through language. Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Linguist Lynne Murphy about the new words we coined, the old and specialized words that formed the new vocabulary needed to protect one another, and how to capture a time in words.