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Play now 55 mins


55 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 25 April 2010

South African novelist Andre Brink on power-games with languages.
Unwelcome guests inside our bodies, with American biologist Eugene Kaplan.
And American-Iranian scholar Vali Nasr on the rise of the 'critical middle' in the Muslim world .

Illustration by Emily Kasriel.


4 items
  • Andre Brink

    Andre Brink

    One of South Africa’s best known novelists, talks about his “discovery” of language at the age of six and how that made him into a writer. He also charts the rollercoaster fortunes of his native tongue – Afrikaans, both the language of the underdog and the tool of apartheid oppressors.

  • Eugene Kaplan and students

    Eugene Kaplan and students

    American biologist, Professor Eugene Kaplan, on human bodies as hotels for parasites. He has spent half a century dissecting and probing the guts, stomachs and other internal organs of living creatures, all in pursuit of the uninvited guests who live there.

  • Vali Nasr

    Vali Nasr

    Iranian-born political scientist Vali Nasr explores the untold story of the rise of the middle classes across the Muslim world and why this should be encouraged.



    In our 60 Second Idea to Change the World Vali Nasr suggests that everyone should be compelled to greet ‘properly’ at least half a dozen strangers every day. This would make our journeys longer but would add immensely to our quality of life, counteract the serious loss of civility which we see all around us.

  • In Next Week’s Programme

    Power of innovation - in nanoscience, holy cows, and through the eyes of a 21st century Marxist. With George M Whitesides, Radhika Jha and David Harvey.


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