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Each week, why not kick back and connect with leading lights from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences as they share with you bite-sized bits of their intriguing and inspirational research and answer your questions? Bring your curiosity and join us weekly for 30 minutes of mind-expanding conversation.
Missed a webinar? You can watch past webinars for free in your own time.
As a 16-year old East German, I experienced with some bewilderment, but also excitement, the sudden influx of consumer goods into my world. After the Berlin Wall fell, the shelves in our stores were transformed almost magically, and virtually overnight. So were we and our homes. Old clothes, furniture, stereos and TVs went out. Shiny new commodities came in, at least where people could afford them. As I grew up, I never thought of us as materially poor or wanting. Our needs for food, clothing and shelter were satisfied just fine. Yet 1989’s radical change in East German consumption showed just how alluring modern consumerism is. When I began my philosophy PhD 20 years later in New Zealand, I found myself writing about the ethics and politics of consumption, with a special focus on what we actually need to flourish as human beings. The question of how we should, and shouldn’t, consume has remained a major theme in my work. An accident? Hardly. To hear more about my story, join me for a chat about what I do, and why.
Check out questions from the audience along with Marco's answers on the Philosophy blog.
A statue of the Virgin Mary sits in her shrine at the edge of a village in Spain. The village, called Alcala de los Gazules, is one of many that forms the ‘Pueblos Blancos’ in Andalusia. More than a statue, the Virgin Mary in Alcala is surrounded by a cult – people responsible for protecting her, changing her robes, guarding her shrine and its possessions, and looking after her economic interests. After all, the Virgin generates more income than many of the villagers who support her. Known as particularly powerful and miraculous (as opposed to her other Mary counterparts in other villages in Andalusia), this Virgin Mary sits at the heart of village life; she demonstrates that the boundaries between ‘subject’ and ‘object’ might not be as clear cut as we’d like to imagine.
“It’s fun to have fun/But you have to know how” - The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
Even at the best of times, fun can seem like a trivial concern. Almost by definition, it’s hard to take seriously and harder still to discuss in any sustained and rigorous way. And yet, the desire that we call fun is an ever-present and often powerful part of our lives. Almost everyone wants to have fun, but almost nobody would admit to it in those terms. In my recent research, I’ve being trying to develop ways to think about fun as a core part of our cultural, social and even political lives. How can we think about fun as both the manufactured promise of our media industries, and a powerful object of individual desire that drives everyday sociability and communal experience?
For regular theatregoers around New Zealand, theatre closures due to Covid-19 are a blow for the art form they love. Yet the closures are not without historical precedent. In early modern England, London’s immensely popular theatres were regularly closed due to outbreaks of plague, and in 1642 they were closed for almost two decades during the Civil War and Commonwealth periods. During those times, nostalgic playgoers turned not to filmed versions of National Theatre productions, but the historical alternative – pamphlets containing the printed texts of popular plays. In this talk, I explore what these 400-year-old playbooks can tell us about who their early readers were and how they engaged with them, thinking in particular about what the page might offer that the stage cannot.
In this talk, I discuss some of the elements of postfeminism, focusing in particular on its relationship with feminism, women’s sexuality, and cultural expectations to work on the self. Charting postfeminism from the rise of the Spice Girls to contemporary figures like Nikki Minaj and Little Mix, I talk about my research at the intersections of psychology, cultural and media studies, describing how a postfeminist sensibility informs young women’s understanding of themselves, their bodies, sexuality and politics.
In the ever present climate of global warming, climate change and the growing awareness of the need to protect and respect our environment, I share a perspective of a connected geneaology. It’s inspired by a connection, a conceptual lens formulated by my ancestors to encourage us to view the environment as a living organism, breathing with moods and emotions similar to the human body. Papatūānuku, Mother Earth requires our attention!
The Growing Up in New Zealand study showed the majority of four-year-old children in the study were able to identify happy and sad emotions, but only one in five children was able to identify a wider range of emotions such as surprised, scared and angry. The foundations for emotional literacy and resiliency are laid in early childhood. The everyday actions of teachers, parents, and other caregivers support young children to develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that support social-emotional competence. My work focuses on expanding teachers’ use of teaching practices and assessment tools to better understand and support children’s social-emotional learning. In this talk, I will discuss some of the tools we’ve used to strengthen teachers’ practice and enhance children’s learning. I will also share my top tip to support children’s emotional literacy and resiliency.
Do the Classics still matter? I will explore this loaded question with reference to recent adaptations of ancient myths, art, ideas and concepts in New Zealand and around the world. The cultures of Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt continue to inspire New Zealand artists, but their reception is characterised by a highly creative synthesis of ancient, local and global elements resulting in exciting new hybrids. My talk draws on selected material from our research project, Classical World New Zealand, which demonstrates the richness of NZ’s contribution to our dialogue with the classical past. Find out more about how the Classics are adapted in a wide variety of genres and media. The global reach the classics now enjoy, thanks to their dissemination through popular culture, impacts New Zealand, too, but does not prevent it from creating something uniquely Kiwi.
Recovery is the “end goal” of eating disorder treatment and support. But many would describe eating disorder recovery as a process – and a messy one at that. To look at social media content focused on recovery, one might begin to believe that eating disorder recovery looks like a perfectly polished, idealized, and privileged place where oat bowls are bountiful and physiques fit the mythical social ideal. And yet, people who seek to recover from eating disorders come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. What is the impact of only seeing some versions of what recovery is or can be? In this talk, I discuss the importance of pluralizing recoveries to open up space for different ways of being in recovery. I will share ideas about how to support people in recovery and about systemic shifts that start from within and foster more widespread body acceptance.
Children and young people live and learn the majority of their time outside of formal, institutionalised education settings. When COVID-19 arrived, children had to rapidly adjust to living a new normal bubble life and to new ways of learning. My work as a teacher and educational psychologist, and my research with colleagues over the years, involved talking with, listening to, and acting on children’s views. In this session I will talk about the key dimensions of informal and everyday learning. This is research where children had a voice, and influenced what and how they learned. Through the eyes of children, I will explain the CRISPA dimensions of informal and everyday learning: Culture, Relationships, Identity, Strategies, Purpose and Affect/emotion. Families and teachers can use these to enrich the learning of children and young people irrespective of whether this learning takes place in ‘bubbles’, ‘lockdowns’, school classrooms or community settings.
Everyone from the amateur quadcopter enthusiast to the licensed remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) instructor has had that ‘oh s#*t’ moment when they lose their aircraft signal, it drops out of sight or that tree jumps out of nowhere. Regardless of what you call it, flying a drone/Unpersoned Aerial Vehicle/RPAS is terrifying – a little like teaching, sometimes. My research focus extends from geopolitics and island jurisdictions to geography education to visual methods. Whether it’s using zombies to debate geopolitical theory and international relations or studying pop culture representations of migrants, my research and approach to teaching has always been interwoven. However, over the past year a few things happened: one - I discovered a new found fascination with videography and my husband bought me my first video camera; two – I shifted to a blended mode of learning with a strong emphasis on field work and experiential learning; and three – I convinced my supervisor that we should buy a drone. I will share how these events have overturned my notions of ‘business as usual’ through the creative work of vlogging educational content, hosting GIS and UAV High School camps and producing a film and podcast on land use and environmental issues in Aotearoa NZ.
My research considers the entanglement of our online and offline worlds and how this is depicted in recent teen films. Teen film presents a variety of intimacies between characters and flirting is a common occurrence. In recent years, this flirting has been increasingly undertaken via digital media. While such representations don’t always reflect the ways teens themselves use digital media, it can indicate to us how we understand it to be used in our society. I question whether such representations of flirting in teen films might be valuable for starting conversations regarding the negotiation of intimacy today.
I want to talk about the concept of imperfection, especially as it relates to processes of apparently spontaneous social coordination (improvisation). The sorts of skills – creativity, ingenuity, and trust – that are needed to improvise solutions to political crises are familiar to all of us as the ‘best self’ of Kiwis in lockdown. But those skills also have the power to build more peaceful, socially just, and democratic communities. In this presentation I will explore some of those ideas in the context of social justice movements such the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter, and ‘Me Too’, and argue that improvisation theory can both explain phenomena like ‘culture-jamming’ (think Banksy-style subversions of cultural messaging) and help us to understand the possibilities for ‘internal resistance’ to established systems of power.
In the last days of March 2020, as the number of Covid19 cases in Aotearoa began to increase steadily, iwi and hapū groups around the country mobilised to prevent the spread of the virus into their ancestral rohe to protect the vulnerable communities that reside there. In many cases, the checkpoints were supported by local councils and the Police in tacit acknowledgement that Covid19, if allowed to spread, would prove catastrophic for Māori. Many others were not supportive, however, and there was a visceral reaction from some Pākehā to the very idea of Māori expressing their territorial sovereignty by blocking movement into their ancestral lands. Land is central to tensions between Pākehā and Māori. In this kōrero, I will discuss the colonial dispossession of Māori land in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the various forms of Crown ‘compensation’ that have followed. Find out why I believe Māori land was and is central to the colonial project in Aotearoa and, to borrow from Patrick Wolfe, that invasion is an enduring structure and not an historical event.
My research focuses on the identities, practices, and subject formations of media and popular culture fans in reforming China. In this webinar, I will talk about different theoretical perspectives of understanding fan cultures by exploring one of the most prominent pop cultural phenomena in China this year: the fandom of Xiao Zhan (a male actor and singer), a controversial fan group that has led to heated public debates. While Xiao Zhan is harshly criticized by the Chinese public discourse from outside, many of his fans have surprisingly continued to adore him with tremendous loyalty and dedication. How can we explain this puzzle? I will discuss how to understand these fans from the lens of audience research and fan studies and what more profound sociocultural implications can be drawn from this phenomenon.