Massey Lectures

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Massey Lectures is an annual five-part series of lectures given in Canada by distinguished writers, thinkers and scholars who explore important ideas and issues of contemporary interest.[1] Created in 1961 in honour of Vincent Massey, the former Governor General of Canada, it is widely regarded as one of the most acclaimed lecture series in the country.

Some of the most notable Massey Lecturers have included Northrop Frye, John Kenneth Galbraith, Noam Chomsky, Jean Vanier, Margaret Atwood, Ursula Franklin, George Steiner, Claude Levi Strauss, and Nobel laureates Martin Luther King Jr., George Wald, Willy Brandt and Doris Lessing.[2] In 2003, novelist Thomas King was the first person of Cherokee descent to be invited as a lecturer.[3]


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 Radio show Ideas since 1965.

Prior to 1989, the lectures were recorded for broadcast in a CBC Radio studio in Toronto. From 1989 to 2002, the lectures were delivered before a live audience at the University of Toronto. Since 2002, the lectures have been presented and recorded for broadcast at public events in five different cities across Canada.[4]

The lectures are broadcast each November on Ideas and published simultaneously in book form by House of Anansi Press.[5]

Many of the lectures can be listened to online on the Ideas website, while others can be purchased on various sites.[6]

In addition to the print version for each individual year, several of the earlier lectures are available in compilations, including The Lost Massey Lectures.[7]

Massey lecturers[edit]

Barbara Ward, the first Massey Lecturer


For Lawrence Hill's Massey Lectures in 2013, the CBC Radio website featured a visual narrative to accompany that year's theme Blood: The Stuff of Life. The story included full-screen images of blood, animations that visually demonstrated historical attitudes towards blood and videos of people affected culturally by it.

1996 did not feature a lecture because Ideas producers and the selected Lecturer Robert Theobald could not agree on an appropriate manuscript for the programme.[23] The theme was to have been on the future of work. Theobald later published his manuscript as Reworking Success: New Communities at the Millennium (1997).[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Archives | CBC Massey Lectures | CBC Radio".
  2. ^ "The Massey Lectures | the Canadian Encyclopedia".
  3. ^ David, Daniel (19 July 2012). "Thomas King, still not the Indian you had in mind - The Globe and Mail". The Globe and Mail.
  4. ^ "The Massey Lectures | the Canadian Encyclopedia".
  5. ^ "The Massey Lectures | the Canadian Encyclopedia".
  6. ^ "Archives | CBC Massey Lectures | CBC Radio".
  7. ^ "The Lost Massey Lectures".
  8. ^ " TITLES". Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-06-21.
  9. ^ "House of Anansi: The Universe Within". Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
  10. ^ "House of Anansi:Blood". House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  11. ^ "The 2014 CBC Massey Lectures".
  12. ^ "Margaret MacMillan to deliver the 2015 CBC Massey Lectures". Retrieved 2014-11-29.
  13. ^ "Margaret MacMillan: History's People". Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  14. ^ "The Return of History". House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 2016-07-11.
  15. ^ "In Search of A Better World". House of Anansi Press. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  16. ^ "Payam Akhavan | Faculty of Law - McGill University". Archived from the original on 2017-07-19. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  17. ^ "Toronto Star investigative journalist Tanya Talaga to deliver 2018 CBC Massey Lectures". House of Anansi Press. Archived from the original on 2018-04-28. Retrieved 2018-04-27.
  18. ^ "CBC Massey Lecturer Sally Armstrong argues gender equality is crucial to a thriving future". CBC. July 22, 2019. Retrieved September 5, 2019.
  19. ^ "2020 Massey Lectures: Renowned tech expert Ronald J. Deibert to explore disturbing impact of social media". CBC News. July 7, 2020.
  20. ^ "Acclaimed author Esi Edugyan to deliver 2021 Massey Lectures on art and race". CBC Radio One, March 29, 2021.
  21. ^ "Tomson Highway to explore life through laughter in 2022 CBC Massey Lectures". June 20, 2022. Retrieved June 20, 2022.
  22. ^ Vivian Rashotte, "'Politeness constrains us': Massey lecturer Ian Williams on developing our own opinions amid cancel culture". CBC News, April 10, 2024.
  23. ^ Valpy, Michael (1996-09-17). "The Massey Lectures you won't be hearing". Globe & Mail. Toronto, Canada. pp. A15.
  24. ^ Smith, Cameron (1997-03-29). "The Massey Lecture we didn't hear". Toronto Star. Toronto, Ont., Canada. pp. –6. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2017-01-16.

External links[edit]