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 am co-coordinator of the British Jewish Contemporary Cultures Network


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

  • Jenni Steele, Washing and Textiles on Film and Television;
  • Atheer Aljubouri, The Iraq War on Film.

Previous topics have included, The Planet of Apes as History, Stereotypes of the Welsh on Film, The Jews of Bangor and Llandudno; The Jewish Diaspora in Wales; Jews in Italian Cinema;

I am also responsible for the following undergraduate modules:

  • Stanley Kubrick: Auteur
  • Genre
  • America on Film
  • Film History/Film Language/Theorising Film

Administrative Roles

  • Programme Leader for Film Studies
  • Director of Research, SCSM

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. Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual (Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2018).
  2. Eyes Wide Shut: A Biography of the Film (with Robert Kolker) (under consideration with OUP).
  3. The New Jew in Film: Exploring Jewishness and Judaism in Contemporary Cinema (London: I.B. Tauris, 2012; New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 272 pp. ISBN: 978-0-8135-5340-5/978-0-8135-5341-2/978-0-8135-5343-6.
  4. Norman Podhoretz and Commentary Magazine: The Rise and Fall of the Neo-Cons (London and New York: Continuum, 2010), 367 pp. ISBN: 978-1441126580.
  5. Caledonian Jews: A Study of Small Communities in Scotland (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2009), 242 pp. ISBN: 978-0786442850.
  6. Commentary Magazine 1945-1959: ‘A journal of significant thought and opinion’ (London and Portland, OR: Vallentine Mitchell, 2006), 201 pp. ISBN: 978-0853036647.
  7. Studying Film (with Ian Bell and Jan Udris) (London: Arnold, 2001; 2nd edition, Bloomsbury Academic, 2010), 386 pp. ISBN: 978-0340984468.

Edited Collections

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

  1. Hidden in Plain Sight: Jews and Jewishness in British Film, Television, and Popular Culture (Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 2016). ISBN 978-0-81013282-5 (paper); ISBN 978-0-8101-3283-2 (cloth); ISBN 978-0-8101-3284-9 (e-book).
  2. ‘The Promised Land: Jewish Utopias and Dystopias’ (with Peter Lawson and Ruth Gilbert), Journal of European Popular Culture special issue 7:1 (2016).
  3. ‘Jews in British Cinema’, Journal of European Popular Culture special issue 3:2 (2012).
  4. Jews & Sex (Nottingham: Five Leaves Press, 2008), 200 pp. ISBN: 978-1-905512-34-8 (paper).
  5. 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), 200 pp. ISBN: 978-1902459066 (paper).

Articles in Refereed Journals

  1. ‘The Jewish Periphery: A Case Study – Dundee in 1883’, Immigrants and Minorities (under consideration). Word Count: 8,000.
  2. ‘Kubrick’s Double: Lolita’s Hidden Heart of Jewishness’, The Cinema Journal 55:3 (Spring 2016): 17-39.
  3. ‘Becoming a Macho Mensch: Stanley Kubrick, Spartacus and 1950s Jewish Masculinity’, Adaptations. Published online: Mar. 2015.
  4. ‘A Jewish American Monster: Stanley Kubrick, Emotions, Antisemitism and Lolita (1962)’, Journal of American Studies 49:3 (August 2015): 541-556.
  5.  ‘A Secular Talmud: The Jewish Sensibility of MAD Magazine’, MAD Magazine and Its Legacies’, special issue of Studies in American Humor 3:3 (Fall 2014): 1-12.
  6.  ‘A Hidden Heart of Jewishness and Englishness: Stanley Kubrick’, European Judaism 47:2 (Autumn 2014): 69-76.
  7. ‘Introduction’ (with Nir Cohen), Jewish Film and New Media: An International Journal 1:2 (Winter 2013): 111-113.
  8.  ‘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.
  9. ‘Introduction’ (with Nir Cohen), Jewish Film and New Media: An International Journal 1:1 (Spring 2013): 1-19.
  10. ‘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.
  11. ‘Jute, Journalism, Jam and Jews: The Anomalous Survival of the Dundee Hebrew Congregation’, Northern Scotland 3 (2012): 86–97.
  12. ‘Hidden: Jewish Film in the United Kingdom, Past and Present’, Journal of European Popular Culture 1:1 (2010): 53-68.
  13. ‘Consistently Controversial: Commentary Magazine, 1945 to the Present’, Reconstruction 8.4 (2008) [Online].
  14. ‘The Jews of Aberdeen: a revolving door community since 1893 and its antecedents’, Northern Scotland 27 (2007): 147–68.
  15. ‘A Significant Journal of Jewish Opinion’?: The Jewishness  of Commentary Magazine’, The American Jewish Archives Journal LV:1 (2003): 35-62.
  16. ‘From Madness to Dysentery: Mad’s Other New York Intellectuals’, Journal of American Studies 37:3 (2003): 435-451.
  17. ‘“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.
  18. ‘“Are You Still You?”: ‘Memory, Identity, and Self-Positioning in Total Recall’, Film and Philosophy VII (2003): 48-59.
  19. ‘“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.
  20. ‘“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]
  21. ‘Advertising Freedom: Commentary Magazine and the Cultural Cold War’, Studies in the Social Sciences 36 (May 1999): 65-80.
  22. ‘The New York Intellectuals and their City’, Overhere 17:1 (Summer 1997): 1-8.
  23. ‘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.
  24. ‘Antonio’s B-Boys: Rap, Rappers, and Gramsci’s Intellectuals’, Popular Music & Society 19:4 (Winter 1995): 1-18.

Book Chapters

  1. ‘Introduction’, in Hidden in Plain Sight: Jews and Jewishness in British Film, Television, and Popular Culture, ed. Nathan Abrams ((Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 2016): 3-28.
  2. ‘The (M)orality of Murder: Jews, Food, and Steven Spielberg's Munich’ (with Gerwyn Owen), in A Companion to Steven Spielberg, ed. Nigel Morris (Blackwell Publishers, forthcoming). Word Count: 10,000.
  3. ‘Appropriation and Innovation: Facebook, Grassroots Jews and Offline Post-Denominational Judaism’, in Digital Judaism, ed. Heidi Campbell (New York and London: Routledge, 2015): 40-56.
  4. ‘An Alternative New York Intellectual: Stanley Kubrick’s Cultural Critique’, in New Perspectives on Stanley Kubrick, ed. Tatjana Ljujic, Richard Daniels & Peter Kramer (London: Black Dog, 2014): 62-81.
  5. ‘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, 2014): 121-42.
  6. ‘Film, Television, and New Media Studies’, in The Routledge Handbook to Contemporary Jewish Cultures, ed. Laurence Roth & Nadia Valman (New York and London: Routledge 2014): 108-120.
  7. ‘Locating the Pixelated Jew: A Multi-Modal Method for Exploring Judaism in The Shivah’ (with Isamar Carrillo Masso), in Playing with Religion in Digital Games, ed. Heidi Campbell and Greg Grieve (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2014): 47-65.
  8. ‘The Banality of Evil: Polanski, Kubrick, and the Reinvention of Horror’, in Religion in Contemporary European Cinema, ed. Costica Bradatan & Camil Ungereanu (New York: Routledge, 2014): 145-164.
  9. ‘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.
  10. ‘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.
  11. ‘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.
  12. ‘“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.
  13. ‘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.
  14. ‘“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.
  15. ‘“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.
  16. ‘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.
  17. ‘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.
  18. ‘“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.
  19. ‘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.
  20. ‘“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.
  21. ‘Homegrown heroes’: Rap Music, Resistance, and Technology’ in Pop Perspectives: Readings to Critique Contemporary Culture, ed. Laura Gray-Rosendale (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007).
  22. ‘“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.
  23. ‘“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.
  24. ‘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

  • 2016 The British Academy Small Research Grant (£9,266)
    College of Arts and Humanities Additional Research Allowance Fund (£500)
  • 2015 Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
    Bangor University ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA) Collaboration and Partnership Grant (£1,340)
    Cadarn Skills Centre, Bangor University (£600)
  • 2014 College of Arts and Humanities Research Support Fund (£495)
  • 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

  • 2015 Appointed as Regional Ambassador (covering north Wales and northwest England), Network Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement
    Elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
    Invited to participate in the Institute for the Study of Global Antisemitism and Policy Summer Institute on Curriculum Development for Critical Antisemitism Studies.
  • 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