A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

A series of half-hour interviews exploring the ideas and values shaping our future. A World of Ideas with Bill Moyers aired in 1988 and 1990 and featured scientists, writers, artists, philosophers, historians – some well know, most never before seen on television – who share their unique insights on a wide variety of important issues. Bill Moyers engages with these figures – “people with ideas and vision and insight” (The New York Times) and offers thought-provoking perspectives on the human condition that are both uniquely personal and uniquely relevant.

EXPLORE A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Isaac Asimov
October 17, 1988 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

In this classic interview, Isaac Asimov explains why he believes that scientists are among the most moral people, why science and religion need not be opposed to one other, and why empowering women is the way to secure our very survival on the planet. Continue reading

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October 12, 1988 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

In this classic interview, Louise Erdrich and Michael Dorris — each half-Native American — talk about their collaboration to tell the true story of Christopher Columbus. Continue reading

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November 18, 1990 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Ernie Cortés organizes and empowers people to take on issues that matter to them and qualitatively improve their lives. Part 1. Continue reading

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April 1, 1990 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

To practice his unique brand of scholarship, Cornel West moves in many worlds. As an academic, he teaches religion and directs the Afro-American studies program at Princeton University. As an author he has delved into subjects from liberation theology to postmodern architecture, from rap music to black politicians. Continue reading

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March 23, 1990 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Toni Morrison on the lack of discourse about race in literary criticism and the silent history of black characters in books. Continue reading

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March 11, 1990 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Toni Morrison, who was honored last week with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, talks about subjects that inspire both her life and writing with Bill Moyers in this classic 1990 conversation. Continue reading

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March 4, 1990 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

In the second part of this World of Ideas interview with Bill Moyers, author Maxine Hong Kingston explains how she blends tales of tradition and her own American experience in her writing. Watch part one of their conversation. Continue reading

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February 24, 1990 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Writer Maxine Hong Kingston blends tales of tradition and her own American experience in her writing. Watch part two of their conversation. Continue reading

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February 4, 1990 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Scientist Robert Lucky of Bell Labs tells Bill that studying computers makes him realize how beautiful it is to be human. Part 2. Continue reading

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November 9, 1988 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

A historian of religion about how church and state have interpreted and depended upon that old story of the man, the woman, and the snake in the garden. Continue reading

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November 3, 1988 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Noam Chomsky is known around the world for his revolutionary work on the structure of language, studies he has persued at MIT since 1955. But he is most controversial as a freelance critic of politics and power. Continue reading

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October 20, 1988 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson on blackness and how his characters find nobility in struggle.
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September 29, 1988 | A World of Ideas (1988, 1990)

Author Chinua Achebe talks with Bill about the challenges of forging cultural identity in postcolonial Africa. Continue reading