The Big Q

Questions - Ideas - Scholarship - Debates

Project for Media in the Public Interest

Why Is It So Hard to Prosecute Money Laundering? 🔊

Why is it so hard to track and prosecute money laundering? How does it finance terrorism? Maria Armoudian discusses the many faces to money laundering with Moyara Ruehsen and Richard Gordan.

Political Activism in Israel: Between Occupation and Social Justice? ▶

An informal conversation with Dr. Daniel Dor, an Israeli linguist, media researcher and political activist, and Lia Nirgad – on Israeli politics, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the struggle against the occupation and new trends in the fight for social justice.

Will New Technologies Revolutionise the Economy? 🔊

James Roberts, a sociologist at the University of Auckland, believes that digital networks open up possibilities for radically transforming our financial and economic systems. We asked him to discuss some of his ideas about intelligent economic planning in a post-capitalist future.

Politics & Society

How Do You Design Peace in a Post-Conflict World?

How do you make peace after fatal conflicts and loss of lands? And what is the role of identity in the conflict and in the peacemaking? Maria Armoudian discusses peacemaking with Neophytos Loizides and Dr. Madura Rasaratnam. Neophytos Loizides is a professor and Chair...

What Is Terrorism? 🔊

In 2001 there were over 40 groups, operating in 28 countries, who were challenging state authority and often using targeted violence to make political change. The terrorism label has been affixed to these groups but what exactly is terrorism and where does it fall on...

Scars of Memory and Scales of Justice? ▶

In this talk, Babere Kerata Chacha attempts to examine a history of political assassinations in Kenya considering that assassination is chillingly effective as a political tool, and is certainly immensely compelling as an idea that must be explored within the context of the politics of history and memory in Kenyan historiography.

What Are the Politics of Muslim Americans? 🔊

What are the politics of Muslim Americans and how might they be changing under the current political environment of Trump and a crackdown on immigration from Muslim countries to the United States? Emily Cury Tohma and Aubrey Westfall talk to Maria Armoudian about politics and Muslim America.

Science & Technology

Are Antibiotics to Blame for Some Modern Diseases? 🔊

Sanitation and antibiotics have saved the lives of many, but are they also the culprits behind some modern diseases? Martin Blaser argues we might have gone overboard in killing our microbes and that may be causing some of today’s epidemics. Blaser discusses the side-effects of microbes and antibiotics with Maria Armoudin. 

How Has Water Shaped our Past and How Will It Shape our Future? 🔊

Although it is the most important substance in our lives, many people hardly ever think about water, where it comes from, how it is used and its precarious future. Charles Fishman talks to Maria Armoudian about how water has shaped our past and how it will shape our future.

What Is the Future of Cities? 🔊

What will the cities of the future look like? Steve Matthewman and Stephen Knight-Lenihan discuss the urban future, covering topics such as ecological resilience, biodiversity, living buildings and floating suburbs.     Steve Matthewman is an associate...

What is Neuroscience and How Far Can it Take Us? 🔊

Neuroscience has uncovered so many clues about human attitudes and behaviours that have far reaching consequences. But scholars and doctors disagree about what it does and does not tell us about what it means to be human. Are we our brains? Do we have free will? How far can neuroscience take us? 

Can we learn to stop worrying and love the machine? 🔊

What do we have to fear from the rise of robots, automation and artificial intelligence? Darl Kolb, a pioneering theorist on social and technical connectivity, argues that we should rethink the relationship between humans and machines as one of co-evolution and...

Business & Economics

What Does It Mean to Have an Equitable and Sustainable Food System?

Saru Jayaraman and Raj Patel have studied the food system and what it means to have an equitable and sustainable system. What are the problems in the system and what are the solutions? Maria Armoudian discusses the food system with them. Saru Jayaraman is the Director...

What is Greenwashing Culture? 🔊

What is Greenwashing Culture? In his new book, Toby Miller argues that culture has become an enabler of environmental criminals to win over local, national, and international communities. Miller examines the complicity of culture with our environmental crisis with Maria Armoudian. 

What Effect is the Private Military Industry Having on War? 🔊

Over the past decades, privatised military contracts have grown to unprecedented levels, a change that has challenged the standing ethical doctrine known as ‘Just War’ theory. How is the privatisation of military activities compromising international conduct in conflict? What does it mean for international law and ethics in conflict?

Will New Technologies Revolutionise the Economy? 🔊

James Roberts, a sociologist at the University of Auckland, believes that digital networks open up possibilities for radically transforming our financial and economic systems. We asked him to discuss some of his ideas about intelligent economic planning in a post-capitalist future.

Is NZ at the Head of the EU and UK Queue Again? ▶

Steve Hoadley presents material from his recent book, New Zealand Trade Negotiations, touching on past trade access breakthroughs, current geopolitical-economic uncertainties, and future hopes with regard to free trade agreements (FTAs) between the EU and the UK post-Brexit.

Arts & Culture

What is Greenwashing Culture? 🔊

What is Greenwashing Culture? In his new book, Toby Miller argues that culture has become an enabler of environmental criminals to win over local, national, and international communities. Miller examines the complicity of culture with our environmental crisis with Maria Armoudian. 

How is Art Used to Counter Oppression? 🔊

Throughout history, art has been used as an act of resistance and as a weapon to counter oppression and violence. Maria Armoudian talks to professor Mark LeVine about the role of art in resistance movements.

Is Graffiti Art?

Ron Kramer speaks to Julianne Evans. Splashing a dark alley with colour, turning a blank wall into a talking point; street art is everywhere when you start looking for it. And Ron Kramer does a lot of looking, and painting. A senior lecturer in criminology and...

I, Donald? A Classic View of Trump

How Suetonius would have loved Mr. Trump! As biographer of the Roman emperors, Suetonius had a sharp eye for the matching and mismatching of personal character with the exercise of supreme political power.