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.


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


From Page to Stage: Exploring sex and gender in Shakespeare's work

In the thorny thickets of love and desire, how do Shakespeare’s characters talk to each other? And what’s changed in 400 years? From the Stratford Festival, IDEAS explores the challenges around issues of sex and gender in staging Shakespeare’s plays.


Smart Cities, Technology and the Pursuit of Urban Utopias

Nothing seems to make a city politician’s eyes light up like the promise of the smart city. In his book, Dream States, journalist John Lorinc questions whether smart technologies live up to the hype and whether ultimately smart cities serve the interests of city dwellers or big tech companies. *This episode originally aired on Sept. 19, 2023.


For the Sake of the Common Good: Honouring Lois Wilson

Lois Wilson has lived many lives during her 96 years: a United Church Minister, a Senator, a human rights advocate and an inspiration to many — exhibiting a humility that can only be described as steadfast. For the Sake of the Common Good: Essays in Honour of Lois Wilson is a tribute to the life and work of a remarkable Canadian.


Obtaining Justice Without Demonizing Your Enemies: Martha Minow

In the age of growing polarization, how do you tackle injustice without demonizing your enemies? Former Harvard Law School dean Martha Minow tackles that question in her 2023 Horace E. Read Memorial Lecture.


Seduced by Story: The Dangers of Narrative

Humans are storytelling creatures. But literary scholar Peter Brooks argues that stories have become far too dominant as the way we understand ourselves and the world. IDEAS examines the dangers of seeing everything as a story. *This episode originally aired on March 7, 2023.


5 Canadian Writers on Subverting Identity

Identity is a hot topic in our era, but also a complex reality. Five literary writers — all of them winners of 2023 Governor General’s Literary Awards — read from new poems, essays, and stories that consider the ways that seemingly solid identities can be altered, questioned, or entirely subverted.


The Dark Side of Charisma: Molly Worthen

Charisma can be a dangerous thing in politics. Writer and scholar Molly Worthen examines how today’s breed of charismatic leaders presents themselves as having the power to transform lives, transfixing their followers into unquestioning fealty, in her 2023 Larkin-Stuart Lecture. *This episode originally aired on Oct. 3, 2023.


Hands Up Who Loves Timmins

Timmins calls itself “the city with a heart of gold." And it offers a fast track to permanent residency for immigrants willing to move there. IDEAS producer Tom Howell finds out what this northern Ontario city has to offer a newcomer, and who’s ready to fall in love with Shania Twain’s hometown. *This episode originally aired on Sept. 11, 2023.


Queer Diplomacy: Negotiating 2SLGBTQ+ Rights in a Fraught World

In the 1980s, Douglas Janoff marched outside the United Nations to promote 2SLGBTQ+ rights. Then, after several decades as an activist, he became a Canadian diplomat — and started pushing for change from within. He shares his experience through the complex and delicate world of queer diplomacy.


Be Reasonable: Scholars Define Who Is and Who Is Not

From the interpersonal to the societal: what is reasonableness? And in a democracy, how reasonable can we reasonably demand that others be? Five Canadian thinkers try to define what “reasonableness” means, and what it is to behave and think reasonably.


Puro Cubano: The Meaning of Tobacco in Cuba

For many people around the world, Cuban cigars are a luxury. But for Cubans, they’ve symbolized the country’s rich history and culture. Now as an economic crisis is gripping the country and people are leaving, the cigar is a bellwether of Cuba's uncertain future.


Ulysses and the Art of Everyday Living

What does it mean to be a good person? Irish scholar and writer Declan Kiberd argues that Ulysses — James Joyce’s iconic novel — has lessons to teach us about the art of everyday living.


Platforms, Power and Democracy: Understanding the Influence of Social Media

Research around social media was already hard to do. Now it’s even harder. Researchers describe how Big Tech and right-wing lawsuits block efforts to hold social media giants accountable.


Our Bodies, Our Cells

Our bodies are a great paradox. We are made up of trillions of cells that are both independent and interconnected units of life. IDEAS travels into the microscopic complexity of the human body to explore sophisticated nanomachines — and probe the deep mysteries of a subatomic world.


The Meaning of Ice: Arctic research embracing traditional knowledge

Climate change has transformed the Arctic faster than most places on the planet. Inuit know this better than anyone. But as Arctic ice researcher Dr. Shari Fox argues a colonialist approach to Arctic research by academia has largely disrespected and sidelined traditional knowledge. She's working to change that. *This episode originally aired on Jan. 11, 2023.


The Tree of Life Revisited: Chava Rosenfarb

Chava Rosenfarb, Holocaust survivor and Canadian Yiddish writer, was born 100 years ago in Łódź, Poland. In 2023, Łódź celebrated “The Year of Chava Rosenfarb." In this episode, producer Allison Dempster revisits a 2001 IDEAS documentary that profiles Rosenfarb’s legacy and the politics of Holocaust remembrance in Poland today.


The Year 1989: Uprisings and Downfalls

Our series exploring five years in the 20th century that shaped the world ends with the year 1989. The Berlin Wall comes tumbling down. There are democratic uprisings in Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Poland and Hungary. A riot in Tiananmen Square in Beijing is met with a fierce crackdown.


The Year 1973: The Dictators

In part four of our series exploring five years that shaped the world, IDEAS examines 1973. Augusto Pinochet comes to power in Chile, and dictators rule Portugal, Greece, Uganda and beyond. The OPEC oil embargo sets the world on a new path. The American Supreme Court legalizes abortion in Roe v. Wade, 50 years before it would be overturned.


The Year 1963: Social Revolutions

Our series continues as we focus on the year 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads a march on Washington, the Pan-African movement ushers in a new era for Africa, President Kennedy is assassinated, and the war in Vietnam heats up.


The Year 1938: The Winds of War

On the eve of the Second World War, Hitler annexes Austria and escalates antisemitic persecution, Japan wages war on China, and the parallel collapse of democracy in both the East and West sets the stage for war. This is the second episode in our series exploring five years that have shaped the world.