The Sunday Magazinewith Piya Chattopadhyay


The Sunday Magazine for October 25, 2020

Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Maria Hinojosa, Yuval Noah Harari and Katie Stockdale, and takes a closer look at the power and perils of hope.

To understand Latino voters, journalist recommends exploring group's checkered history with both Dems and GOP

In the wake of news that hundreds of immigrant children are still separated from their parents years after attempting to cross the U.S.-Mexico border, Maria Hinojosa — host of Latino USA — speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about the long-simmering anti-immigrant sentiment on both sides of the aisle that's led to this moment, how her own story intersects with that history, and how Latino voters are being engaged in the current U.S. election.

Superheroes, detectives and humanity's biggest challenges today

Historian Yuval Noah Harari has adapted his international bestseller Sapiens into a graphic novel, complete with superheroes, detectives and nods to reality TV. He joins Piya Chattopadhyay to discuss what it took to adapt the book into comic form, the biggest threats facing humans today — and how to counter them — and what we are learning about humankind during the pandemic.

The power and peril of hope

In dark times, hope can be a life raft. But hope can also set us up to be let down. In this hour, we explore both the benefits and the risks of hope, and how we can all "hope well" in the face of uncertainty and despair.

The Sunday Magazine for October 18, 2020

Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Kevin Roose, Doug Smith, Douglas Harper, Ken Otter, Scott Ramsay and Minnie Akparook.

In her quest to become a nurse, Minnie Akparook faced relocation, residential school and racism

A summer job with a nurse in Great Whale River inspired Minnie Akparook to pursue the same profession. She eventually practised nursing for two decades in Canada’s North. But the journey to reach that goal also took 20 years.

The 2020 U.S. election, according to Facebook

As the U.S. election nears, polls and mainstream news suggest that Donald Trump's days as president may be numbered. But Facebook tells a different story. New York Times columnist Kevin Roose tracks political content on the world's largest social media platform, and says right wing messaging is still king there. He speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about why conservative content connects on social, and whether Facebook may be helping deliver Trump another victory.

The Toronto Raptors turn 25

Doug Smith has covered the Toronto Raptors for the Toronto Star since the team was founded in 1995. He speaks with 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.
Word Processing

Word Processing: The election edition

In the latest installment of our ongoing language segment "Word Processing," Online Etymology Dictionary founder Douglas Harper illuminates the backstories of election-related words, including the Roman origins of "vote" as a solemn vow, what it formerly meant to cast a "ballot," and the bright white togas of the first "candidates."

A 'viral' birdsong makes new revelations about animal culture

A landmark 20-year study has found that a new kind of birdsong has gone "viral" in sparrow populations from British Columbia to Quebec. Ken Otter, biology professor at the University of Northern British Columbia and Scott Ramsay, associate professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, join Chattopadhyay to talk about their discovery ... and what it reveals about animal culture.

The Sunday Magazine for October 11, 2020

Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Matthew Herder, Ibram X. Kendi, Marilynne Robinson, and Samuel Veissière.

In a 'grand battle between democracy and tyranny,' Ibram X. Kendi hopes democracy will win the U.S. election

Ahead of one of the most contentious elections in modern American history, Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with historian and writer Ibram X. Kendi about how Donald Trump’s presidency has changed the conversation around race and racism in America, his latest work on pandemic disparities and more.

Canadians deserve greater vaccine transparency from the federal government says Matthew Herder

As the race for a COVID-19 vaccine continues, Matthew Herder says Canadians deserve greater transparency about the deals secured by the federal government. Herder, who is the head of Dalhousie University's Health Law Institute, says deliberations about acceptable safety and efficacy standards for the vaccine are mostly happening behind closed doors — and this lack of transparency could undermine public confidence in a vaccine once it's ready.

Samuel Veissière explains why gathering is a deep-seated human need

On a weekend when many families and friends would normally get together for Thanksgiving dinner, the pandemic is forcing us apart. But as anthropologist and McGill University assistant professor of psychiatry Samuel Veissière explains, gathering is a deep-seated human need. Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with him about what drives this powerful social urge... and what we lose by not being able to fulfill it.

Exploring the legacy of segregation in the U.S. with novelist Marilynne Robinson

In her new novel Jack, about an interracial romance in 1940s Missouri, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Marilynne Robinson explores the legacy of segregation in the United States and how societies implicate us all in doing harm. She speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about her characters’ attempts to imagine a new world, and about what kind of country America could become.

The Sunday Magazine for October 4, 2020

Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Brenda Austin-Smith, Peter Toohey Margaret MacMillan and Yiyun Li.

Changing the course of human history 'for better and for worse': Margaret MacMillan on the paradoxes of war

Canadian historian Margaret MacMillan speaks with Piya Chattopadhyay about how war has shaped everything from the power of the state, to the role of women in society, to public health. Her new book explores how war transforms our world, even after the fighting has stopped.

The pandemic reveals the cracks in Canada's post-secondary education

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and amplified many of the underlying pressures faced by colleges and universities across Canada. As classes resume, Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Brenda Austin-Smith, president of the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), about the challenges and opportunities presented by online teaching, cracks in the post-secondary education business model, and the meaning of higher education after the pandemic.

Is COVID making us experience the ancient state of 'acedia?' Not quite, says professor

As fall sets in alongside rising cases of COVID-19... so too does a new emotional state for many of us, marked by anxiety, lethargy and apathy. Some think we're experiencing the ancient state of "acedia". University of Calgary classics professor Peter Toohey breaks down its origin and meaning... and explains that what we're feeling is likely more a mix of boredom and waiting. But as he tells Chattopadhyay, there are benefits to both!

Yiyun Li on the uncanny resonances between life and art

Yiyun Li's novel "Must I Go" is a portrait of the rich inner life of an octogenarian woman in long-term care. It also deals with the aftermath of losing a child to suicide, and is deeply informed by the the death of Li's own son. Chattopadhyay speaks with the author about her story, processing grief, and the roles we play in each other's lives.

The Sunday Magazine for September 27, 2020

Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with Pam Palmater, Charles Pascal, Ben Zimmer, Jessica J. Lee and Francesca Ekwuyasi.

Throne speech commitment to reconciliation must go beyond empty words: Indigenous lawyer Pam Palmater

The federal government reaffirmed its commitment to walking “the shared path of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples” in its throne speech on Sep. 23. But Mi'kmaw lawyer and professor Pam Palmater says the government’s historical record casts doubts on those promises.

Long-time educator Charles Pascal explores the purpose of public education in society

COVID-19 has proven to be a transformative moment for schooling. And it's forcing big questions about what the purpose of public education should be going forward. To dig into them, Piya Chattopadhyay speaks with long-time educator Charles Pascal, one of the architects of all-day kindergarten in Ontario.
Word Processing

Two names for the same season on Word Processing

In the latest installment of our recurring segment "Word Processing", Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer explains why North Americans say “fall” while the British say “autumn”... and the surprising histories of the words that might disrupt any notions about the superiority of the Queen’s English.

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.