Meredith A. Bak, PhD (on Sabbatical Spring 2019)
Assistant Professor of Childhood Studies
Office: 329 Cooper Street, Room 215

Dr. Bak joined the Rutgers-Camden Department of Childhood Studies in 2014 from Franklin & Marshall College, where she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Media Studies. Her research and teaching interests focus on children’s film, media, visual, and material cultures from the nineteenth century to the present. Her research explores historical and contemporary children’s media and material culture and she is at work on a book manuscript about the role of pre-cinematic visual media from optical toys to early pop-up books in shaping children as media spectators. A second project in development considers the history and theory of animate toys from talking dolls to augmented reality apps.

She is currently working on a range of projects, including book chapters on the Give-a-Show Projector, Talking Dolls, and the DC Super Hero Girls toy line. 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. Dr. Bak is also currently a book reviews editor for H-Childhood.


Ph.D., Department of Film and Media, Univesity of California, Sana Barbara (UCSB), 2012

M.A., Department of Cinema Studies, New York University, 2006

B.A., Department of Media Arts, Brigham Young University, 2004


Children’s Media, Visual and Material Culture, Toy Design, Cinema, and Archival Research Methods


Undergraduate: Kids’ Media Culture, Toy Design,  Senior Seminar

Graduate: Proseminar, Children and Cinema

View Full CV Here



Struggling for Recognition: Intensive Mothering’s ‘Practical Effects’ in The Babadook,” Quarterly Review of Film and Video (July 23, 2019): 1– 24.

“Taming Monstrous Play: STEAM Learning, Maker Culture, and MonsterMaking Media for Children,” Comunicazioni Sociali No. 2 (2018): 218-231.

“The Ludic Archive: The Work of Playing with Optical Toys,” The Moving Image 16.1 (Spring 2016): 1-16.

“Building Blocks of the Imagination: Children, Creativity, and the Limits of Disney Infinity,” The Velvet Light Trap 78 (Fall 2016): 53-64.