Nathaniel Brennan

PhD Candidate

Nathaniel Brennan


Title: Film Theory and Wartime Intelligence: Research and Analysis at the Museum of Modern Art Film Library during World War II

Supervisor: Dana Polan

My research focuses on the social, cultural, and intellectual histories of cinema in the United States during the first half of the twentieth century. My dissertation explores the collaboration between the Museum of Modern Art Film Library and the federal government to derive useful intelligence from (primarily) captured enemy cinema during World War II. In addition to my dissertation project, I am particularly interested cinema's role in everyday life in New York City between the two world wars, from the behavior and preferences of its audiences, to the efforts of advocacy groups, regulatory bodies, and cultural organization to shape the city's diverse film cultures.


I have taught film studies courses at NYU, Queens College, Fordham University, and Amherst College. Sample syllabi from these course may be found at

Additionally, I have served for the last several years as Assistant Archivist of the Robert Sklar and William K. Everson papers held in the Cinema Studies Department's George Amberg Memorial Film Study Center.

When not doing research or working at the archive, I can generally be found interrupting the work of numerous departmental administrators to show off pictures of my cats.