Control room

Debra Pentecost

PhD, MA Professor

Areas of Focus

  • Methods of audience reception
  • Visual representations of war and trauma
  • Documentary film, challenges of storytelling
  • Media framing of social issues

Teaching Areas

  • Methods, including analysis of content and the audience
  • Political economy of the media industries, within Canada and globally
  • Propaganda, persuasion, and promotion
  • Film about media
  • Cultural Studies


  • BA, Simon Fraser University (Communication)
  • MA, York University (Sociology)
  • PhD, Simon Fraser University (Communication)


Debra teaches in Departments of Media Studies and Sociology. For several years her research interests have focussed on the challenges of visualizing war, conflict, and trauma, in addition to addressing issues of audience reception. With traumatic experiences often thought to be beyond the reach of representation, her work has centred upon varying narrative and visual approaches for confronting this challenge; whether through still photographs, animation, first person narratives, animated documentary, documentary, and fictional filmmaking. Along with this attention to representation is assessing audience response; querying how and when such representations have power and resonance with audiences, and further, what impacts occur when such resonance takes place. Debra is on the Board of the DOXA Documentary Film Festival.