Nathan Lee

Nathan Lee

Nathan Lee is a scholar, critic, and curator whose research examines the impact of digital technologies on the form, aesthetics, and theorization of contemporary cinema. In addition to his academic work, he has published extensive film criticism in The New York Times, The Village Voice, and NPR, and is a longtime contributor to Film Comment. Before coming to Hollins, he taught courses in film and media studies, contemporary art, critical theory, animation, and gender and sexuality studies at Emory University, Georgia State University, Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design, Bryant University, and Bard College. His teaching ethos is informed by a passion for collective inquiry and the formulation of questions rather than answers. When asked the impossible question “What is your favorite film?” he will answer: David Cronenberg’s Crash (1996). When not engaged in professorial duties, he can generally be found vacuuming up after his dog Luba.

Areas of Expertise

  • Contemporary cinema
  • Digital aesthetics
  • Animation
  • Film theory
  • Critical theory
  • Critique and post-critique

Courses Taught

  • Introduction to Film as Art
  • Critical Issues in Film Studies
  • American Cinema
  • Queer Cinema


  • Ph.D., Brown University
  • M.A., Bard College

Publications & Articles

  • “Physician, Heal Thyself,” Film Comment, 2022
  • “Talking to Myself: On The Image Book and the Legacy of Jean-Luc Godard,” Literary Hub, 2022
  • “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” Film Comment, 2021
  • “Mind Games,” Film Comment, 2021
  • “Insurrectional Evolution: The Cronenbergian Revisited," Art Papers, Fall 2022
  • “Inland Empire," 4Columns, 2022
  • “Terminal Velocity,” Metrograph Journal, 2021
  • “The Call of Cage-Thulu: On the Unspeakable Frenzies of Nicolas Cage,” Post 45/Contemporaries, 2021
  • “American Avant Garde’s Cinema of the In-Between,” Millennium Film Journal, Spring/Fall 2020
  • “Postcritique and the Form of the Question: Whose Critique Has Run Out of Steam?” Cultural Critique, Vol. 108, Summer 2020
  • “Transforming Nihilism” in Unwatchable, eds. Nicholas Baer, Maggie Hennefeld, Laura Horak, and Gunnar Iversen, Rutgers University Press, 2019


  • Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Brown University (2017-2018)
  • Malcolm S. Forbes Center for Culture and Media Studies Grant (2015, 2016)
  • Creative Arts Council Grant, Brown University (2015)

Research Interests

I am currently working on two scholarly essays. “Insect Politics: The Cronenberg Machine” examines the role of animals, insects, and other creatures in the films of David Cronenberg to propose a form of inhumanism arising from the mix of hybridity and hermeneutics I read across his filmography. “The Film Theory Reader: Post-Cinema and the Abdication of Textuality” chronicles the abandonment of “text” and “reading” as concepts in post-cinematic theory and critiques the logic of “mapping” “diagram,” and “cartography” that have taken their place.

Alongside this scholarship I have recently published criticism on The Kingdom Exodus, Crimes of the Future, The Image Book, Inland Empire, Speed Racer, Licorice Pizza, and Annette.