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Dr Allen Meek

Senior Lecturer

School of English and Media Studies

Allen Meek is the author of Trauma and Media: Theories, Histories and Images (Routledge 2010) which explained how the concept of trauma has been used to understand modern media in the writings of theorists such as Freud, Benjamin, Adorno, Barthes, Derrida and Zizek. He teaches a 300 level paper called Trauma and Media which explores the role of media images in shaping our understanding of war, genocide, atrocity, terrorism and other catastrophes. He is currently researching how natural history and biology have shaped modern conceptions of cultural memory, particularly the transmission of the past by media.

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Research Expertise

Research Interests

My current research is concerned with the nature of archival images in the digital era.  This continues themes in my earlier research related to the complex relations between trauma and media and conceptions of the mediated transmission of extreme events such as the Holocaust and the bombing of Hiroshima.  Recently these themes have taken a more regional orientation with research on nuclear testing in the Pacific.  My current research also engages with the concept of natural history as a critical methodology developed in the writings of Walter Benjamin and W.G. Sebald.  I also have current projects on media and biopolitics, memory research in the Pacific, and on migrant and indigenour media in Aotearoa New Zealand.   


21st Century Citizenship

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Communication and Media Studies (200100): Cultural Studies (200200): Cultural Theory (200204): Languages, Communication And Culture (200000): Literary Studies (200500): Literary Theory (200525): Media Studies (200104): Migrant Cultural Studies (200208): Pacific Cultural Studies (200210): Postcolonial Studies (200211): Screen and Media Culture (200212)


trauma, cultural memory biopolitics,,critical theory, media theory, film theory, literary theory, New Zealand media, indigenous media, film and television

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 1 3

Completed Projects

Project Title: Transmission: Media, catastrophe and cultural memory

This book investigates how cultural memory in the post-World War II era has been progressively shaped by representations of catastrophic events in visual media. It focuses on particular events, such as the bombing of Hiroshima, the Vietnam War and the 9/11 attacks, which have become points of reference for cultural critics, public intellectuals and media professionals who articulate influential ideas about cultural identity. The book analyses the role of technological media and the spectacular display of violence and destruction in the redefining of collective memory in Western culture over the past 60 years. It also seeks to construct a pre-history of the role of media in transmitting shock and trauma in our contemporary era of globalized war and terror. The purpose of this research is to understand the complex social and cultural roles that media images play in defining 21st century citizenship. This project follows on from my earlier book Trauma and Media (Routledge 2010), which looked specifically at how conceptions of history and media representation have been influenced by theories of psychological trauma. The new project is focused on areas not covered by the previous book, particularly Cold War and post-Cold War ideological formations.
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Date Range: 2012 - 2012

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

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