NZ Initiative James Kierstead 01w v2

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.


Phone: 04 499 0790


Recent Work

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James Kierstead and Michael Johnston on new NCEA trial results

James Kierstead and Michael Johnston discuss the results of a second pilot for literacy and numeracy assessments, as well as an upcoming survey on the extent to which university students are willing to express their ideas. To listen to our latest podcasts, please subscribe to The New Zealand Initiative podcast on iTunes, Spotify or The Podcast App. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Dr James Kierstead
28 October, 2022

Is the market economy making us less selfish?

If there’s one objection that proponents of the free market are familiar with, it’s that capitalism is anti-social. From Adam Smith to Gordon Gekko – so the objection goes – liberal and neo-liberal economists have been doing little else but reciting a mantra of ‘Greed is good.’ It was with this argument in mind that I found some recent research on markets and pro-sociality so intriguing. Read more

Dr James Kierstead
Insights Newsletter
14 October, 2022
University of Auckland square

Why won’t NZ defend academics’ right to freedom of speech?

Almost 30 years after leaving Quebec, and just short of ten years after moving to New Zealand, it’s not often that I get the chance to link the two. Recently, though, the government of my former home province passed an academic freedom bill that shows exactly what Wellington should be doing but isn’t – at least not yet. Read more

Dr James Kierstead
The Australian
12 October, 2022
Prof elizabeth rata 1 sq

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

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