Professor Laurence Simmons

PKUSSI Course:Visual Communication for a Global World

Professional Positions and Training

2017-2018 Associate Dean (International) Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland.

2015-2018 Associate Dean (Postgraduate) Faculty of Arts, University of Auckland.

2002-2013 Professor, Associate Professor and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies, University of Auckland. Founding member of Department. Deputy Head 2003-4 and 2007-10. Head of Department 2010-2014, 2016.

1996-2001 Head of Department of Italian (School of European Languages and Literatures), University of Auckland. Half-time position in Department of Film, Television and Media Studies.

1992 Appointed to halftime position as Senior Lecturer in the Centre for Film, Television and Media Studies, English Department, University of Auckland. Retaining halftime position in Italian.

1980- Lecturer in Italian, Department of Romance Languages, University of Auckland.

1978-1980 Junior Lecturer in Italian, Department of Romance Languages, Victoria University, Wellington.

1975-77 Assistente esterno, Istituto di Lingua e Letteratura Inglese, Università degli Studi di Pavia, Pavia, Italy.


Qualifications and Awards


  • PhD, University of Victoria, Wellington, 2000

  • MA in Italian (First Class Hons), University of Auckland, 1974

  • BA (double major in Italian and English), University of Auckland, 1973


  • Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria, Canada, 2015

  • Visiting Scholar, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University, 2006

  • Visiting Fellow, Centre for Research into the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Cambridge, 2006

  • Senior Fulbright Fellowship, UC Santa Barbara and SUNY Stony Brook, 2002

  • Visiting Research Fellow, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UC Santa Barbara, 2002

  • Scientia Trust Award, New Zealand Film Archive, 1997



    I completed a BA at The University of Auckland with a major in English and Italian and a Masters degree in Italian in 1974. In that year I left for Italy and taught as an ‘assistente esterno’ at the Università degli Studi di Pavia for 3 years. I returned to New Zealand from Italy in 1977 to take up a New Zealand Postdoctoral Scholarship, was appointed as Junior Lecturer in Italian at Victoria University in 1978, and then took up a position as Lecturer in Italian at The University of Auckland in 1980. My PhD from Victoria University explores the relationship of the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, to Italy. In the 1980s, I created and taught a number of courses of a cultural studies and interdisciplinary nature and in 1996 I assumed the Headship of the Italian Department. In 1992 with another colleague from English I helped set up a small interdisciplinary Centre in Film, Television and Media Studies at The University of Auckland. This unit grew rapidly and became the Department of Film, Television and Media Studies (now Media and Communication) and I moved across to this new Department on a full-time basis in 2005 and have since been its Director of Graduate Studies, Deputy Head and Head. My extensive research in the fields of critical theory, film and television studies, visual and cultural studies is reflected in research outputs such as sole-authored monographs, refereed journal articles, book chapters, contributions to encylopedias and critical dictionaries, and conference papers. My research practice intersects with other disciplinary practices, seeking, for example, to intertwine theoretical, historical and cultural studies. I have also made a conscious effort to respond to both the local cultural scene — I apply recent post-structuralist critical theory to local cultural texts — and a wider external context — I am regularly called upon to write for international publications in the field of visual culture, human-animal studies, and critical theory. I have held a number of international visiting fellowships: the Terza Università di Roma, UC Santa Barbara and SUNY Stony Brook, the Humanities Research Centre at ANU, New Zealand Centre Peking University and the Centre for Research into the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Cambridge.



    Principal teaching fields: New Zealand cinema, film theory, television theory, communication studies.

    I have also taught the following courses in China: film courses at Beijing Foreign Studies University in 2006 and 2008, a course on ‘New Zealand through Cinema’ at Peking University in 2014, and a Summer School course on ‘Chinese Cinema through Western Eyes’ at the University of Shanghai in 2018.

    I have given over 12 lectures and presentations as a guest lecturer to universities and to conferences in China.


    Publications and Research


    Principal Research Fields

    - contemporary critical theory (with particular reference to psychoanalysis, Derrida, Lacan, Deleuze, Agamben and Zizek);

    - film and television studies (recent film theory, media and television theory, neorealism, Michelangelo Antonioni, Alfred Hitchcock, New Zealand film, film in the South Pacific, national and transnational cinemas, third cinema, Chinese cinema, postcolonial discourse, television program genres);

    - Renaissance studies (relationships between word and image in the Renaissance);

    - semiotic and post-structuralist approaches to the visual arts.


  • Research Publications:

  • Sole authored books: 6

  • Joint authored book  1

  • Edited books and journal issues: 12

  • Refereed journal articles:  55

  • Chapters in books: 47

  • Conference Proceedings:  1

  • Reviews and Comments: 19

  • Other works (non-quality assured): 16

  • Curated exhibitions: 5

  • Translation: 1