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Dr James Kierstead

Research Fellow

James is Senior Lecturer in Classics at Victoria University of Wellington, where his research focusses on ancient Greek democracy.

His main focus at the Initiative will be on higher education policy, including academic freedom.

James holds a BA in Classics from Oxford, an MA in Ancient History from the University of London, an MA in Political Science from Stanford, and a PhD in Classics from Stanford.

He is also the co-host (with Michael Johnston) of Free Kiwis!, a podcast dedicated to free speech in a New Zealand context, and he can be found on Twitter at @Kleisthenes2’ after ‘academic freedom.’


Phone: 04 499 0790


Recent Work

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Free Kiwis! podcast: Elizabeth Rata - Science, tribalism, and democracy

Elizabeth Rata is a professor in the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Auckland. We talked to her about the nature of science; her theory of 'neo-tribal capitalism'; and why 'partial loyalty' might be crucial to liberal democracy. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
Free Kiwis! Podcast
4 August, 2022
Oliver square

Podcast: Dr Oliver Hartwich interviews two new colleagues

Oliver Hartwich interviews historians James Kierstead and Matthew Birchall, two new colleagues at the Initiative. To listen to our latest podcasts, please subscribe to The New Zealand Initiative podcast on iTunes, Spotify or The Podcast App. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Dr James Kierstead
Dr Matthew Birchall
20 July, 2022
Greek ancient politics square

Joining the Initiative

Since this is my first Insights column, I thought it might be good just to introduce myself and say a little bit about why I’ve joined the Initiative and what I’m hoping to achieve here. I came to New Zealand almost a decade ago to take up a position as a lecturer in Classics. Read more

Dr James Kierstead
Insights Newsletter
15 July, 2022

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