School of Creative Studies and Media

Staff Profile of Prof. Nathan Abrams

Nathan Abrams
Nathan Abrams
Professor of Film Studies
+44 (0)1248 382196
JP Hall

Research profile

I have written widely on transatlantic Jewish film, history, politics and popular culture with specific reference to the United States and the United Kingdom. My current research falls into three key areas:

  • Jews, Jewishness and Judaism in Popular Culture, 1990–present.
    This project explores recent and changing representations of Jewishness as ethnicity and religion in contemporary cinema and other forms of popular culture.
  • Public Intellectuals and American Culture.
    Ongoing research exploring, theorising and widening the notion of the function of the intellectual in post-war America, with specific focus on Norman Podhoretz, neoconservatives, Commentary magazine, the New York Intellectuals, Arthur Miller and Stanley Kubrick.
  • European Jewish Diasporas
    Research into the Jewish Diasporic communities in Europe with a particular emphasis on Scotland and Wales.


I would be interested in supervising postgraduates in any of the areas mentioned above. I currently supervise the following research students:

  • Amy Chambers, The Planet of Apes as History (completed);
  • Sion Griffiths, Stereotypes of the Welsh in Film;
  • Jennifer Krase, The Jews of Bangor and Llandudno;
  • Cai Parry-Jones, The Jewish Diaspora in Wales;
  • Gerwyn Owen, Jews in Italian Cinema;
  • Jenni Steele, Washing and Textiles in Film and Television.

I am also responsible for either coordinating or contributing to the following undergraduate modules:

  • Authorship (Stanley Kubrick)
  • Genre: Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy
  • America on Film
  • Film Theory/Film Culture
  • The Development of the Moving Image

Administrative Roles

  • Professor of Film Studies
  • MA Convenor
  • Director, Centre for Film Studies
  • Deputy Director of the Graduate School of College of Arts and Humanities
  • University Senate Postgraduate Committee
  • University Environmental Committee
  • Research and Knowledge Transfer Committee
  • Personal Tutor and PhD Supervisor
  • Module Leader

Major publications


Cover image of the book 'Norman Podhoretz and commentary Magazine' by Dr Natham AbramsBook cover of 'Commentary Magazine 1945 - 59' by Dr Natham AbramsBook cover of 'Studying Film' by Dr Nathan Abrams

  1. The New Jew in Film: exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema (London: I.B.Tauris, 2012; New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012) [Online] [Online]
  2. Norman Podhoretz and Commentary Magazine: The Rise and Fall of the Neo-Cons (New York and London: Continuum, 2010). [Online]
  3. Caledonian Jews: A Study of Seven Small Communities in Scotland (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009). [Online]
  4. Commentary Magazine 1945–1959: ‘A journal of significant thought and opinion’ (London and Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2006).
  5. Studying Film. Co-authored: Nathan Abrams, Ian Bell, Jan Udris (London: Arnold, 2001).

Edited Collections

book cover of 'Jews & Sex' by Dr. Nathan Abrams Book cover of 'Containing America' by Dr. Nathan Abrams

  1. The Hidden Presence of Jews in British Film and Television (under contract with Northwestern UP).
  2. ‘Jews in British Cinema’, Journal of European Popular Culture special issue 3:2 (2012).
  3. Jews & Sex. Edited by Nathan Abrams (Nottingham: Five Leaves Press, 2008). [Online]
  4. Containing America: Cultural Production and Consumption in Fifties America. Co-edited: Nathan Abrams, Julie Hughes (Birmingham: Birmingham University Press, 2000; London and New York: Continuum, 2006). [Online]

Articles in Refereed Journals

  1. ‘The Jewish Periphery: A Case Study – Dundee in 1883’, Immigrants and Minorities (under consideration). Word Count: 8,000.
  2. ‘The “sub-epidermic” Shoah: Barton Fink, the Migration of the Holocaust, and Contemporary Cinema’, POST SCRIPT: Essays in Film and the Humanities 32:2 (Winter/Spring 2013): 6–19. Download the article (pdf)
  3. ‘Introduction’ (with Nir Cohen), Jewish Film and New Media: An International Journal 1:1 (Spring 2013): 1–19.
  4. ‘Introduction: “Jews in British Cinema”’, in ‘Jews in British Cinema’, special issue of Journal of European Popular Culture special issue 3:2 (November 2012): 111–15.
  5. ‘Jute, Journalism, Jam and Jews: The Anomalous Survival of the Dundee Hebrew Congregation’, Northern Scotland Northern Scotland 3 (2012), 86–97 Download the article (pdf)
  6. ‘Hidden: Jewish Film in the United Kingdom, past and present’, Journal of European Popular Culture 1:1 (2010): 53–68. Download the article (pdf)
  7. The (M)orality of Murder: Jews, Food, and Steven Spielberg’s Munich’. [Word Count: 6000].
  8. ‘Consistently Controversial: Commentary Magazine, 1945 to the Present’, Reconstruction 8.4 (2008). [Online]
  9. ‘The Jews of Aberdeen: a revolving door community since 1893 and its antecedents’, Northern Scotland 27 (2007): 147–68.
  10. ‘A Significant Journal of Jewish Opinion’?: The Jewishness of Commentary Magazine’, The American Jewish Archives Journal LV:1 (2003): 35–62. Download the article (pdf)
  11. ‘From Madness to Dysentery: Mad’s Other New York Intellectuals’, Journal of American Studies 37:3 (2003): 435–451. Download the article (pdf)
  12. ‘“A Profoundly Hegemonic Moment”: De-Mythologizing the Cold War New York Jewish Intellectuals’, Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies 21:3(Spring 2003): 64–89. Download the article (Pdf)
  13. ‘“Are You Still You?”: ‘Memory, Identity, and Self-Positioning in Total Recall’, Film and Philosophy VII (2003): 48–59. Download the article (Word)
  14. ‘“America is home”: Commentary Magazine and the Refocusing of the Community of Memory, 1945–1960’, Jewish Culture and History 3:1 (Summer 2000): 45–74. Download the article (Pdf)
  15. ‘“Taming Memory”: Themeing America’s East Coast Holocaust Memorials’ (co-written with David Oettinger), 49th Parallel: An Interdisciplinary Journal of North American Studies 6 (Autumn 2000). [Online]
  16. ‘Advertising Freedom: Commentary Magazine and the Cultural Cold War’, Studies in the Social Sciences 36 (May 1999): 65–80.
  17. ‘The New York Intellectuals and their City’, Overhere 17:1 (Summer 1997): 1–8.
  18. ‘Inhibited but not “crowded out”’: The Strange Fate of Soccer in the United States’, The International Journal of the History of Sport 12:3 (December 1995): 1–17. Download the article (Word)
  19. ‘Antonio’s B-Boys: Rap, Rappers, and Gramsci’s Intellectuals’, Popular Music & Society 19:4 (Winter 1995): 1–18. Download the article (Word)

Book Chapters

  1. ‘Muscles, Mimicry, Menschlikyat, and Madagascar: Jews, Sport, and Nature in US Cinema’, in Muscling in on New Worlds: Jews, Sport, and the Making of the Americas, ed. Raanan Rein and David Sheinin (Leiden: Brill, forthcoming).
  2. ‘An Alternative New York Intellectual: Stanley Kubrick’s Cultural Critique’, in New Perspectives on Stanley Kubrick, ed. Tatjana Ljujic, Richard Daniels and Peter Kramer (London: Black Dog, forthcoming).
  3. ‘The Banality of Evil: Polanski, Kubrick, and the Reinvention of Horror’, in Religion in Contemporary European Cinema, ed. Costica Bradatan and Camil Ungereanu (New York: Routledge, forthcoming).
  4. ‘Film/TV/New Media Studies’, in The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures, ed. Laurence Roth and Nadia Valman (New York and London: Routledge forthcoming).
  5. ‘Pop-Up Communities: Facebook, Grassroots Jews, and Offline Post-Denominational Judaism’, in Digital Judaism, ed. Heidi Campbell (New York and London: Routledge, forthcoming).
  6. ‘Locating the Pixelated Jew: A Multi-Modal Method for Exploring Judaism in The Shivah’ (with Isamar Carrillo Masso), in Finding Religion in Digital Gaming, ed. Heidi Campbell and Greg Grieve (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, forthcoming).
  7. ‘Grassroots Religion: Facebook and Offline Post-Denominational Judaism’ (with Sally Baker and B. J. Brown), in Social Media and Religious Change, ed. Marie Gillespie, David Herbert, Anita Greenhill (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013): 143–163. Download the article (pdf)
  8. ‘Digesting Woody: Food and Foodways in the Movies of Woody Allen’, in Woody on Rye: Re-examining Jewishness in the Films and Plays of Woody Allen, ed. Vincent Brook and Marat Greenberg (Waltham, MA: Brandeis University Press, 2013): 215–34. Dowload the article (pdf)
  9. ‘Arthur Miller: Unofficial Cultural Ambassador’, in Divided Dreamworlds: The Cultural Cold War in East and West, ed. Peter Romijn, Giles Scott-Smith and Joes Segal (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2012): 13–32. Download the article (pdf)
  10. ‘“A double set of glasses”: Stanley Kubrick and the Midrashic Mode of Interpretation’, in De-Westernizing Film Studies, ed. Saer Maty Ba and Will Higbee (London and New York: Routledge, 2012): 141–51. Download the article (pdf)
  11. ‘The Jew in the Gym: Judaism, Sports, and Athletics on Film’, in Jews in the Gym: Judaism, Sports, and Athletics, ed. Leonard J. Greenspoon (Indiana: Purdue University Press, 2012): 53–64.
  12. ‘“Almost the same, but not quite”: The Jewish Male Body in European Cinema’, in La piel en la palestra: estudios corporales II, ed. Alba del Pozo and Alba Serrano (Barcelona: Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Ediuoc, 2011): 105–13.
  13. ‘“My religion is American”: A Midrash on Judaism in American Films, 1990 to the Present’, in Religion in the United States, ed. Jeanne Cortiel, Kornelia Freitag, Christine Gerhardt and Michael Wala. Heidelberg: Winter Verlag, 2011): 209–25.Download the article (pdf).
  14. ‘The Da Vinci Code Effect: Leo Strauss, the Neocons and the Paranoid Style’, in The Legacy of Leo Strauss, ed. Tony Burns and James Connelly (Exeter: Imprint Academic, 2010): 235–52.
  15. ‘From Jesus to Jeremy: The Jewish Male Body on Screen’, in Mysterious skin: male bodies in contemporary cinema, ed. Santiago Fouz-Hernández (London and New York: I.B. Tauris, 2009): 15–29. Download the article (pdf).
  16. ‘“A Profoundly Hegemonic Moment”: De-Mythologizing the Cold War New York Jewish Intellectuals’ in The New York Intellectuals and Beyond: Exploring Liberal Humanism, Jewish Identity, and the American Protestant Tradition, ed. Ethan Goffman and Daniel Morris (West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press, 2009): 17–34.
  17. ‘The Jew on the Loo: the Toilet in Jewish Popular Culture, Memory, and Imagination’, in Ladies and Gents: Public Toilets and Gender, ed. Olga Gershenson and Barbara Penner (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2009): 218–26. [Link]
  18. ‘“More than one million mothers know it’s the REAL thing”: The Rosenbergs, Jell-O, Old-Fashioned Gefilte Fish, and 1950s America’ in Edible Ideologies: Representing Food and Meaning, ed. Katie LeBesco and Peter Naccarato (Ithaca, NY: State University of New York Press, 2008): 79–103.
  19. ‘Homegrown heroes’: Rap Music, Resistance, and Technology’ in Pop Perspectives: Readings to Critique Contemporary Culture, ed. Laura Gray-Rosendale (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007).
  20. ‘“America is Home”: Commentary Magazine and the Refocusing of the Community of Memory, 1945–1960, in Commentary in American Life, ed. Murray Friedman (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2005): 9–37.
  21. ‘“I’ll have whatever she’s having”: Jewish Food on Film’ in Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film, ed. Anne Bowers (New York and London: Routledge, 2004): 87–100.
  22. ‘Celebrating Freedom: American Judaism and the Cold War’ in New Voices in Jewish Thought: Vol. III, ed. Alex Gordon (London: New Voices Publications, 2000): 5–23.

Academic Awards and Grants

  • 2013 Rothschild Foundation Europe (£2,928)
    Dorot Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Jewish Studies Travel Stipend ($1,700)
  • 2012 British Academy Small Grant (£10,000)
  • 2011 AHRC Fellowship (£76,199)
    Santander Mobility Scholarship (£1,000)
  • 2010 AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award (£55,050)
    Bangor University Academic Research Development Fund (£10,245)
  • 2009 Beacon Public Engagement Award (£19,000)
  • 2008 The Marc Fitch Fund (£2,000)
    Society of Antiquaries of Scotland Grant (£468.78)
  • 2007 Clore Duffield Foundation Sparks Grant (£10,000)
  • 2006 Dorot Foundation Fellowship in Jewish Studies, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin ($6,000)
  • 2006 The British Academy Small Research Grant (£7,425)
    Academic Jewish Studies in Europe Small Grant (£1,000)
    University of Aberdeen College Research Award (£850)
  • 2005 The Carnegie Trust (£2,000)
  • 2003 Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture Fellowship
    The Open University Flexible Fund
  • 2002 Visiting Research Fellowship, Rothermere American Institute, University of Oxford
  • 2000 Marguerite R. Jacobs Memorial Fellowship, Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, Cincinnati, Ohio
    Dorot Foundation Fellowship in Jewish Studies, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, the University of Texas at Austin
    The Myer and Rosaline Feinstein Center Fellowship, Temple University, Philadelphia
  • 1998 British Academy Conference Travel Scholarship
  • 1997 British Academy Conference Travel Scholarship
    British Academy Overseas Travel Scholarship
    Conference Travel Scholarship, Department of American Studies, University of Birmingham
    Royal Historical Society Postgraduate Research Support Grant
  • 1996 British Academy Short Term Travel Grant
  • 1995–98 British Academy Three Year Studentship
  • 1994–95 British Academy One Year Studentship
  • 1991–94 Alfred Louis Cohen Scholarship
  • 1991 Goldblum Memorial Scholarship

External Academic Appointments and Peer Esteem

  • 2013 Awarded a personal chair as of July 1st.
    Welsh Crucible Researcher (funded by the St David’s Day Group of Universities and HEFCW)
  • 2012 Advisory Board, Marginalia: A Review of Books in History, Theology & Religion
    Founding Co-Editor, Jewish Film & New Media: An International Journal
    Editorial Board, Jewish Historical Studies
  • 2011 Committee Member, British Association for Jewish Studies
  • 2010 External Examiner, Swansea University
    Editorial &; Advisory Board, Journal of European Popular Culture
    Member, Onscenity AHRC Network
    Academic Committee, British Friends of the Hebrew University
  • 2009–2013 External Examiner, Greenwich University
  • 2009 Cyfrwng Management Committee
  • 2006 Fellow, The Higher Education Academy
  • 2005–2006 Editorial Board, The Edinburgh Star
  • 2003–2012 Reviews Editor, Jewish Culture and History
  • 2002–2005 Education Consultant, The Phoenix Cinema, London


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