Sociology’s Carolan makes the rounds in New Zealand on prestigious fellowship

Michael Carolan is kind of a big deal in New Zealand.

The CSU sociology professor received the 2018 Presidential Scholarship from the University of Auckland and spent two weeks there in April and May delivering public talks and doing media interviews about his research on food systems.

Carolan being interviewed
Carolan, right, being interviewed on 1 News Now.

As part of the fellowship, awarded to a single “international thought leader” each year, Carolan conducted workshops, gave a universitywide lecture on “Rethinking Food Attitudes and Behaviours,” and was a featured speaker at a symposium called “The Future of Food.”

He was also interviewed on Radio New Zealand as well as 1 News Now, which Carolan describes as a popular Sunday morning program that covers current affairs as well as topical business stories.

Carolan hiking
Carolan also got some hiking in during the trip.

He said he got a lot of questions about “cultured meat,” also called “lab meat,” which is meat grown in a laboratory by culturing meat cells. He said the debate over producing meat without slaughtering an animal is a hot topic in New Zealand, in part because the country’s export-oriented economy is heavily reliant on an intensive agricultural model that has come at significant ecological cost.

Carolan also said he spoke to administrators at the University of Auckland about building large interdisciplinary research teams, as CSU has done with the Catalyst for Innovative Partnerships initiative in the Office of the Vice President for Research. The New Zealand university’s leaders are exploring the idea of creating a similar program, Carolan said.

Putting together effective multidisciplinary research teams was the topic of one of Carolan’s workshops. The others focused on publishing (preparing book proposals and articles for academic journals) and how to conduct food studies and other environmental research.

Carolan serves as associate dean for research and graduate affairs in the College of Liberal Arts and is a professor in the Department of Sociology.