Our Changing World - Auckland

A series of free public lectures - Massey University Auckland campus

Join us each month in Auckland to discover the latest insights from our leading thinkers in humanities and social sciences. Hear first-hand from Massey University scholars and explore with them unique and captivating perspectives to better understand modern-day challenges.

China and New Zealand flags Is it only our way or the Huawei? Past, present and future options for NZ and China

Wednesday 6 March 2019 | Dr David Belgrave

Reflecting on the history of New Zealand policy towards China is especially pertinent now as we navigate the current tensions between globalisation and nationalism in global politics. Trade, security, and diplomacy are among touchpoints for defining New Zealand's interests as the power balance shifts rapidly in the Asia-Pacific. Politics and citizenship lecturer David Belgrave asks ‘Where to from here?’ as he explores policy options for New Zealand in what Sinophiles have dubbed ‘the Chinese century.’  

Birds and barbed wire Ghosts of the Holocaust: The haunting of contemporary French fiction

Wednesday 3 April 2019 | Associate Professor France Grenaudier-Klijn

The Holocaust continues to haunt French culture and society, reflected in a number of recent novels featuring ‘protagonists’ of the Shoah (the Holocaust), be they victims, perpetrators or witnesses. Confronting the past, particularly an emotionally laden and traumatic atrocity like the Holocaust, is challenging. Focussing on four recent French novels, French literature and language expert France Grenaudier-Klijn examines aesthetic and ethical dilemmas their authors negotiated in confronting its history. She will also place these novels within a broader French political and socio-cultural landscape, attempting to define some factors contributing to the presence of these ghosts in contemporary French fiction.

Student with microscope Are you more than just a number? Evaluating population research: from science to policy

Wednesday 1 May 2019 | Dr John Matthewson

From medical trials to conservation efforts to psychological research, scientific findings are often based upon populations of individuals. In turn, these findings can be used to implement decisions with wide-ranging and significant effects, such as public health interventions, social policies, and your insurance premiums. Philosopher Dr John Matthewson outlines key properties of the various kinds of populations used across the natural and social sciences, and shows how these properties affect whether a particular grouping should be used to underwrite particular applications. Moving through philosophical analysis to scientific methodology, the talk ultimately considers practical outcomes for individuals and groups targeted in research.

The Globe Theatre Shakespeare and human obsolescence in the 21st century

Wednesday 26 June 2019 | Dr Bill Angus

Futurologists suggest that one great struggle of the 21st century will be against human insignificance. Could our growing reliance on artificial intelligence not so much threaten human life as simply make it obsolete? In this scenario, increasingly side-lined from the decision-making process by technology, the development of human character we see most clearly in Shakespeare‘s plays may be retarded. Bard scholar Bill Angus puts the case for Shakespeare’s work as it stands on the cusp of an era of expanding human possibilities. Since his was an age of discovery, new trade, and nascent meritocracy, involving shifts in ‘all the old verities’ of the pre-Reformation and pre-Renaissance era, Shakespeare’s themes are well-placed to focus a discussion on the relationship of humans to disturbing social change. Can the dramatic arts offer creative resistance?

Children on computers at school Seeking certainty in an uncertain world: Is education the saviour?

Wednesday 3 July 2019 | Senior Tutor Graham Jackson

What is the role of education in a world where ‘foundational givens of thought are on the move and… the cosmology that has framed experience in Western societies is unravelling?’ Former school teacher and principal, now teacher educator, pedagogy and curriculum critic and researcher Graham Jackson shares his insights into the nature of education – its rationale and relevance in a rapidly-changing era. He explores perceptions and positioning of education as somewhere between stagnation and disintegration, between a need for security and a demand for transformation.

Aged hands Intimate relationships in residential care

Wednesday 7 August  2019 | Dr Vanessa Schouten

A residential care home is exactly what it says on the tin – a home. In our homes we expect to enjoy a private life, including enjoying sex and intimacy with people of our choosing. But a residential care home is also a workplace, and it is the job of care workers to ensure the safety, security and dignity of those under their care. The result is that residents and care workers have difficult issues to navigate together. How can care workers ensure that residents get the privacy and support they need to continue engaging in sex and intimacy if they wish (including relationships old and new, masturbation, or pornography consumption) while ensuring the safety of the resident? Should residents with dementia be prevented from engaging in any type of sex or intimacy? If we think that older New Zealanders deserve to be able to continue engaging in the kinds of sexual and intimate activities that they enjoy as they move into residential care, we need to address these questions.

Medieval city Voices of the people: What protest and popular politics in medieval Europe can teach us

Wednesday 4 September 2019 | Dr Amanda McVitty

In modern democracies, principled protest is a healthy sign of political engagement as is the ability of all citizens to voice political opinions publicly. By contrast, medieval Europe is commonly viewed as a place where the many were uniformly downtrodden and silenced by the few. But were medieval people really so voiceless? Between 1200 and 1500, the political elite who dominated national and local governments battled popular resistance in everything from public libels and petitions to tax strikes and violent revolts. Historian Amanda McVitty explains how and why the voices of the people emerged as a formidable and unpredictable force, and explores the strategies ordinary men and women used to protest injustice, defy corrupt leaders, and demand change.

Male professional cyclist Games and goalposts: How sport in NZ has evolved from 1840 to now

Wednesday 2 October 2019 | Dr Geoff Watson

Rugby and rowing, cycling and sailing, basketball and boxing – Kiwis love to play and watch numerous sporting codes. We’re world champions in quite a few too. Participation in sport – whether in a team, a committee or on the side lines – seems integral to our national sense of identity. To what extent have professionalism, economic reforms, technological change, gender and ethnicity influenced the development of sport in New Zealand? Why do New Zealanders share such a significant material and emotional investment in sport? Historian Geoff Watson evaluates continuity and change in New Zealand sport between 1840 and 2019, arguing that sport and sporting organisations have, willingly or otherwise, adapted to changing times and values.

Auckland skyline at dawn Superdiverse Auckland: A new city emerges

Wednesday 27 November 2019 | Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley

In 2015, the World Migration Report identified Auckland as the fourth most diverse city in the world – what does that really mean? In the post-war era, the first major non-European migration occurred from the 1950s with the arrival of migrants from the Pacific. Auckland has, for some time, laid claim to being home to the largest global concentration of Polynesians. Changes to immigration policy in the late 1980s have further shaped Auckland’s diversity in two distinct ways – by connecting the city to Asia via recent migration flows, and by contributing to the ‘diversification of diversity’.  Demographer Paul Spoonley explores the implications of immigrant-related diversity – ethno-burbs, ethnic precincts, culture and practice (food, sports, arts) and the implications for the future.

Event details

Time: Doors open at 6pm. Lecture runs 6.30pm to 7.30pm

Location: Round Room, Atrium Building, Massey University Auckland campus.

Free parking onsite.


Light refreshments provided.

Register for free now!

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