Athena Tan received her PhD in Film and Media Studies from UC Santa Barbara in 2016. Her dissertation, “The Abduction Complex: Kidnap Media and Contemporary Globalization,” situates abduction as a trope of globalization whose recurrence in popular, mediated narratives both indexes and contributes to the felt precarity, vulnerability, and uncertainty of the present. Analyzing a range of kidnap media from the German Autumn through the Islamic State, the dissertation explores what the concept of global media might expansively signify vis-a-vis the expropriative and representational relations of forced captivity.
Tan served as Managing Editor of Camera Obscura: Feminism, Culture, and Media Studies from 2012 to 2014 and Coordinating Editor of Media Fields Journal in 2010. She coedited Media Fields Journal no. 2 (2011) on media, labor, and mobility with Hye Jean Chung. Her PhD research was supported by an American Association of University Women International Fellowship from 2012 to 2013 and a UCSB Chancellor’s Fellowship from 2007 to 2012.