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Massey Lectures: Wikis


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The Massey Lectures are a prestigious annual event in Canada, in which a noted Canadian or international scholar gives a week-long series of lectures on a political, cultural or philosophical topic. They were created in 1961 to honour Vincent Massey, Governor General of Canada. The purpose is to enable distinguished authorities to communicate the results of original study on important subjects of contemporary interest.[1] Some of the most famous Massey Lecturers have included Northrop Frye, Michael Ignatieff, Noam Chomsky, Jane Jacobs, John Ralston Saul and Martin Luther King, Jr.



The event is co-sponsored by CBC Radio, House of Anansi Press and Massey College in the University of Toronto. The lectures have been broadcast by the CBC show Ideas since 1965. Until 2002, the lectures were recorded for broadcast in a CBC Radio studio in Toronto, with a single public lecture given at the University of Toronto. In that year, however, the lectures were taken out of the studio and turned into a truly national event, with each of the five lectures being delivered and recorded for broadcast before an audience in a different Canadian city.

The lectures are broadcast each November on the CBC Radio One show Ideas and published in book form by House of Anansi Press. Two consolidations of five older lectures have been published. Many of the lectures are also available in CD audio that can be purchased through the CBC. Since 1997 the lectures have included some form of interaction through web forums.

Massey lecturers

Barbara Ward, the first Massey Lecturer

The lecturers are often, but not always, Canadian. Several Nobel laureates have given the lectures, including Martin Luther King, Jr., George Wald, Willy Brandt and Doris Lessing.

There was no lecture in 1996 because the Ideas producers and the selected lecturer, Robert Theobald, could not agree on what constituted a sufficient manuscript for the lecture. The topic was to be on the broad theme of the future of work and it was later published as Reworking Success: New Communities at the Millennium.

Douglas Coupland has announced that he will be the lecturer in 2011. His topic is "new ways of interpreting the self".[2]


  1. ^ Lucht, Bernie. "Ideas: About The Show". Retrieved 2009-10-20. 
  2. ^ Barber, John (Oct 3), "The man who names the new", Globe and Mail: R5 

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