Welcome to the Center for Cultural Analysis

Meredith BakMeredith Bak (PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara) is an Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden. Her research and teaching interests focus on children’s film, media, visual, and material cultures from the nineteenth century to the present. She is the author of Playful Visions: Optical Toys and the Emergence of Childrens Media Culture (MIT Press, 2020), which explores the role of pre-cinematic visual media from optical toys to early pop-up books in shaping children as media spectators. Recent articles and book chapters have considered the connections between children’s media and visual/material cultures applied to case studies such as talking dolls, the DC Super Hero Girls toy line, and the Give-a-Show Projector. A second large-scale project in development considers the history and theory of animate toys from talking dolls to augmented reality apps. Since joining the faculty at Rutgers-Camden, Dr. Bak’s research has been supported by the Penn Humanities Forum, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Rutgers-Camden Digital Studies Center.