Our changing world

Massey University
Publication date:
27 November 2019, 6:30pm - 27 November 2019, 7:30pm
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Massey University Albany, Round Room, Atrium
Various. See summaries below.

Wednesday 27 November | Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley. Superdiverse Auckland: A new city emerges


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.



Wednesday 6 March | David Belgrave

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

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.’


Wednesday 3 April 2019 | Associate Professor France Grenaudier-Klijn

Ghosts of the Holocaust: The haunting of contemporary French fiction

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.


Wednesday 1 May 2019 | Dr John Matthewson

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

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.


Wednesday 26 June 2019 | Dr Bill Angus

Shakespeare and human obsolescence in the 21st century

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? Seeking certainty in an uncertain world: Is education the saviour?


Wednesday 3 July 2019 | Dr Graham Jackson

Seeking certainty in an uncertain world: Is education the saviour?

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.


Wednesday 7 August  2019 | Intimate relationships in residential care, Dr Vanessa Schouten


Wednesday 4 September 2019 | Dr Amanda McVitty

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

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. Games and goalposts: How sport in NZ has evolved from 1840 to now


Wednesday 2 October 2019 | Dr Geoff Watson

Games and goalposts: How sport in New Zealand has evolved from 1840 to now

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.


Wednesday 27 November 2019 | Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley

Superdiverse Auckland: A new city emerges

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.

Last updated: 2019-02-27