The Big Q

Questions - Ideas - Scholarship - Debates

Project for Public Interest Media

Will Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal jeopardise North Korean negotiations?

Tony Walker explores whether Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal could fracture alliances and jeopardise North Korea negotiations.

Why do human rights campaigns fail in China?

Why have so many human rights campaigns, such as Free Tibet and the Falun Gong, failed in China? Why have others such as better environmental protection and HIV/Aids care fared better? What have the costs been on political movements with the more successful campaigns? What activism can work in the authoritarian country? Maria Armoudian speaks with Stephen Noakes. 

What should a New Zealand constitution look like?

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and Andrew Butler outline their vision for a Constitution for New Zealand. This Constitution aims to describe in a single, easy-to-read document the bedrock principles by which public power should be exercised, the basic institutions of government, and the rights of individuals.

Politics & Society

How did radical movements change in the 21st Century?

The 21st century has already witnessed revolutions in Ukraine, Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya, alongside other uprisings and transformational movements that reach all over the world. Although these movements had their roots in earlier movements and revolutions, they are different from their predecessors. For one, these movements are increasingly non-violent, and secondly, they are less ideologically driven. Maria Armoudian discusses how revolutions have changed this century with Leandro Vergara-Camus, John Foran, and Jack A. Goldstone.

What would the world be like without prisons?

What would the world be like without prisons? Julianne Evans speaks with Tracey McIntosh Co-Head of the School of Te Wananga o Waipapa, Māori Studies and Pacific Studies, in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Auckland about the state of prisons in New Zealand. 

Why do human rights campaigns fail in China?

Why have so many human rights campaigns, such as Free Tibet and the Falun Gong, failed in China? Why have others such as better environmental protection and HIV/Aids care fared better? What have the costs been on political movements with the more successful campaigns? What activism can work in the authoritarian country? Maria Armoudian speaks with Stephen Noakes. 

Science & Technology

How does income inequality effect obesity?

National income and income inequality impacts on body size of children and adolescents, according to new research from the University of Auckland, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences.

How do we restore marine ecosystems? ▶

Professor Simon Thrush from the Institute of Marine Science at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “How do we restore marine ecosystems?”

Business & Economics

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? 🔊

Will cryptocurrency profoundly alter the monetary system? What is the future of cryptocurrency? What are the pros and cons? And what do they mean for economics, for power, and for society? Maria Amoudian discusses the questions around cryptocurrency with David Golumbia, Gina C. Pieters, Lee W. McKnight, and Emin Gun Sirer.

Why do corporations have the same rights as people?

How did corporations get civil rights? That is Adam Winkler’s question. He says that the corporate rights movement began as early as 1809 with Alexander Hamilton’s Bank of the United States case. That was followed by an advancement of corporate rights in 1882 when a former senator named Roscoe Conkling argued that corporations should get the same protections under the U.S. Constitution as people received. Winkler speaks with Maria Armoudian.

Is food security in flux?

Honorary academic Ken Jackson explores whether food security is currently in a state of flux.

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network?

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network? Nicola Shepheard speaks with business graduate Paul Rataul and University of Auckland management and international business lecturers Dr. Dan Tisch Dr. Peter Zamborsky about the success of Netflix. 

Arts & Culture

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network?

How did Netflix become the world’s biggest online TV network? Nicola Shepheard speaks with business graduate Paul Rataul and University of Auckland management and international business lecturers Dr. Dan Tisch Dr. Peter Zamborsky about the success of Netflix. 

What is context? ▶

Associate Professor Mark Amsler from the School of Cultures, Languages and Linguistics at the University of Auckland talks about his big question, “What is context?”

Are we living in an age of excess?

America has entered an age of excess, according to Jay Slosar. Driven by a maddening quest for perfection, technology, deregulation, and a superficial, and often inaccurate mass media, America’s national psychology has become increasingly narcissistic. Maria Armoudin discusses whether we are living in an age of excess with Slosar. 

Who really was Martin Luther King Jr? 🔊

While much of the country remembers Martin Luther King, Jr. as primarily a leader of civil rights and a great orator, others say he stood for so much more. As America pays tribute to King fifty years after his death, many aspects of his life, legacy & philosophy remain either unknown or conveniently forgotten. Maria Armoudian discusses the life and legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. with David Garrow, Joshua Inwood, and Thomas Jackson.