CBC Podcasts & Radio On-Demand

IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In the age of clickbait and superficial headlines, it's for people who like to think.

IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In the age of clickbait and superficial headlines, it's for people who like to think.


Canada, ON


IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. No topic is off-limits. In the age of clickbait and superficial headlines, it's for people who like to think.






Ideas CBC Radio P.O. Box 500 Station A Toronto, ON Canada, M5W 1E6 (416) 205-3700


In Defence of Democracy: Naheed Nenshi

Democratic backsliding is speeding up. Is there a way to revive civic engagement and resilience and push back against public apathy? IDEAS host, Nahlah Ayed talks to former Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi about the possibility of renewing civic purpose in Canada, as part of a public lecture hosted by the Samara Centre.



'Passaggio' is a documentary by Pamela Post about the transition of her transgender son, Asher, a serious performer of vocal music. The story captures the pain and joy as Asher confronts medical procedures and the prospect of losing both his musical career and his partner. *This episode originally aired on Dec. 20, 2021.


Thomas Halliday: History of Extinct Ecosystems

British paleontologist Thomas Halliday reveals how extinction is intimately linked to evolution in his book, Otherlands. He chronicles 16 extinct ecosystems over the past 520 million years to show how everything living today is the descendant of survivor species.



Coyotes are everywhere, from the deepest woods to urban backyards. Who is this “song dog” and why do they fascinate and unnerve humans? IDEAS explores some answers in a 2001 documentary that looks at coyotes, in reality and story.


Myths on Screen: Hollywood at War, Part Three

Warning: Explicit Content | As the Twin Towers lay in rubble after Sept. 11, former U.S. president George W. Bush's administration leveraged the influence of Hollywood celebrities to sway the public to rally around the flag. *This episode originally aired on May 25, 2020.


Myths on Screen: Hollywood at War, Part Two

Warning: Explicit Content | America's losing the Vietnam War shattered the 'heroic myth' that Hollywood had spent decades creating, according to historians and researchers. What followed was an era of films attempting to recapture past glories. *This episode originally aired on May 18, 2020.


Myths on Screen: Hollywood at War, Part One

The U.S. military had some little-known help in spinning public perception about it over the last seventy years: Hollywood. This series shows how movies functioned as the unofficial — but massively influential — propaganda arm of America's war efforts. *This episode originally aired on May 11, 2020.


Flow: when the impossible becomes possible

Flow. Athletes know it: the state of mind and body when every move made is the right one. But flow presents a paradox, as a state in which you lose yourself, yet become yourself. Writer and triathlete, Suzanne Zelazo, delves into the mystery at the heart of flow. *This episode originally aired on June 25, 2021.


Fate Is the Hunter: Ernest K. Gann

IDEAS takes a deep dive into Fate Is the Hunter, Ernest K. Gann's celebrated memoir of flying and the capricious hand of fortune. The book is a nail-biting account of his early days in aviation. Gann wonders: why did I survive when so many other pilots perished?


Transhumance: An ancient practice at risk

For millennia, human beings along with their domesticated animals have travelled to bring sheep, goats, cattle, and other animals to better grazing areas. The ancient practice, known as transhumance, has been dismissed as an outdated mode of animal husbandry. Yet the practice holds promise for a sustainable future.


Getting Past Polarization: Anand Giridharadas

The extremes are extreme in U.S. politics. But Anand Giridharadas and some other progressives are convinced that there are uncompromising approaches that can move up to 60 per cent of voters to value democracy and human rights. The author of The Persuaders describes the methods proven effective in shifting views.


Flop Sweat: Why We Choke When It Matters Most

The World Cup of Soccer promises some of the most dramatic moments in sports. And when the stakes are high, some people choke. IDEAS contributor Peter Brown looks at why our skills desert us when we're under pressure, and what can be done to avoid the dreaded choke.


Indigenous Sexuality and Gender

When Europeans colonized North America, they brought very specific ideas about gender and sexuality. Following the 2022 CBC Massey Lectures, Tomson Highway joined panellists to discuss Indigenous sexuality in the aftermath of colonialism — from Cree mythology to the Vancouver dating scene.


2022 CBC Massey Lectures | # 5: On Death

Tomson Highway's final Massey lecture is an uplifting and joyous conclusion to his series ⁠— a message that the worldview of Indigenous people suggests ways of seeing and believing that make our journey on Earth joyous, hilariously funny and rich in diversity.


2022 CBC Massey Lectures | # 4: On Sex and Gender

In his fourth Massey lecture, Tomson Highway explores some of the limits monotheism imposes our understanding of the human body and gender. In the world of Indigenous peoples, Highway writes, "the circle of pantheism has space for any number of genders" — an idea with fresh relevance for understanding our own times.


2022 CBC Massey Lectures | # 3: On Humour

In his third CBC Massey lecture, Tomson Highway invites us into the Cree world of scatological, wild laughter. He invokes the Trickster — a central figure to mythologies of many Indigenous communities across Turtle Island. The audience is invited to experience the world through joy and laughter.


2022 CBC Massey Lectures | # 2: On Creation

In his second CBC Massey lecture, Tomson Highways questions how the universe came to be. He explores ancient Greek and Christian beliefs and suggests the Indigenous worldview offers something else: "Those who lived in ages before us... who have died, our loved ones — they live here with us, still, today, in the very air we breathe."


2022 CBC Massey Lectures | # 1: On Language

In his 2022 CBC Massey Lectures, acclaimed Cree writer Tomson Highway explores fundamental questions of human existence through the lens of Indigenous mythologies, and contrasts them with the ideas from ancient Greece and Christianity. In the first lecture, Highway argues that language shapes the way we see the world. Without language, we are lost creatures in a meaningless existence — which is why we tell stories.


Artist, Witness, Woman: Mary Riter Hamilton

In 1919, Canadian artist Mary Riter Hamilton embarked on a solo mission to paint the World War One battlefields of France and Belgium. A century later, documentary maker Alisa Siegel speaks to the artist's biographer, historians, and art historians to resuscitate Mary Riter Hamilton's art, life, and legacy. *This episode originally aired on Nov. 11, 2021.


Iran: Bänoo Zan, a War Correspondent in Verse

Leaving Iran in 2010 was the first time translator and poet Bänoo Zan was able to fully inhabit a self-described role as "war correspondent in verse." In this conversation with host Nahlah Ayed, the writer in residence at the University of Alberta explores the role of poetry in such moments of upheaval in her home country.