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Nathan Holmes

Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies

Nathan Holmes’s research and teaching center on cinema’s relation to cities, public life, and the built environment. He is interested in cinema’s interactions with urban history and culture, film and media theory, Frankfurt School critical theory and the political imagination of mass culture, transnational genres and cycles, and film/media and the environment (natural and built).

His first book, Welcome to Fear City: Crime Film, Crisis, and the Urban Imagination (SUNY Press 2018) examines how location-shot American crime films of the 1970s expressively engaged with urban decline, deindustrialization, and racial division, ultimately producing new ways of seeing and understanding cities. He is currently completing articles related to race and the American suburbs, ciné-genres, mid-century prison films, and developing a longer-term project on buildings, background settings, and the production of public life in pre- and postwar American film.

More About Me

Holmes received his PhD in Cinema and Media Studies at the University of Chicago. He has taught classes in film, media, and cultural studies at the University of Iowa, Loyola University, University of New Brunswick, and Baruch College. He is currently an editor at Mediapolis: The Journal of Cities and Culture.

In Holmes’ classes, students explore the transnational nature of film and media history, as well as cinema’s relationship to popular visual culture and social transformation. Holmes is particularly interested in the way that moving images allow us to experience, reflect on, and talk about a shared world.

Representative Courses

  • CIN 3740   From Transformers to Trump
  • CIN 3005   Cinema and the Archive
  • MAC 5010 History and Theory of Media Proseminar
  • CIN 3140   Cinema and the City


Welcome to Fear City: Crime Film, Crisis, and the Urban Imagination, SUNY Press, 2018.

“The Possibilities of Suburban Iconoclasm,” in Race and the Suburbs in American Film, SUNY Press, 2020.

“Deep Backgrounds: Landscapes of Labor in All the President’s Men,” Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies/Revue d’etudes interculturelle de l’image, Fall 2018.

“Rudolph Arnheim: Cinema and Partial Illusion,” in Thinking in the Dark: Cinema, Theory, Practice, Rutgers University Press, 2015.