Michael J. Kramer works at the intersection of historical scholarship, cultural criticism, the arts, civic engagement, and digital technology. He is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at SUNY Brockport, outside Rochester, New York, and splits his time between there and Chicago. Kramer is the author of The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback, 2017) as well as numerous essays and articles for publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, First of the Month, The National Memo, The Point, Theater, Newsday, and the US Intellectual History Blog.
His current research includes a book-in-progress, This Machine Kills Fascists: Technology, Tradition, and Democratic Culture in the US Folk Music Revival, and a set of related digital and public history projects on the Berkeley Folk Music Festival and folk music on the West Coast. He teaches a wide range of courses in modern US history, cultural and intellectual history, cultural criticism, history of technology, and digital and public history. Kramer blogs at Culture Rover and Issues in Digital History. His website can be found at michaeljkramer.net.
Previously, he was an adjunct Professor of the Practice on the faculty of Middlebury College, where he served as Acting Director of the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative and taught history, American studies, and digital humanities. Prior to that, he was an adjunct professor at Northwestern University, where he taught history and American studies, co-founded NUDHL, the Northwestern University Digital Humanities Laboratory, and helped to design the Graduate Engagement Opportunities program at Northwestern’s Center for Civic Engagement. He has also worked as a dance and theater dramaturg and an editor in the Design, Publishing, and New Media Department at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and at the website of the New York Times.
Writing & Projects
- This Machine Kills Fascists: Technology, Tradition, and Democratic Culture in the US Folk Music Revival
- Current project.
- A study of folk revival engagements with technology across the long twentieth century.
- The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture
- Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback, 2017.
- Shifting our understanding of the 1960s counterculture, consumerism, American empire, global youth culture, and the nature of democratic citizenship, this book uses new archival sources to reveal how rock music sparked surprising political engagements in its trans-Pacific circulation between San Francisco, the epicenter of the hippie movement, and Vietnam, where the music traveled deep into the theater of war.
Digital & Public History Projects
- Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project
- A multimodal public history of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival, 1958-1970. The project features a digitized repository of over 50,000 artifacts, a multimedia historical narrative, a podcast series, a gallery exhibition, a print catalog, events, and more. It reveals understudied aspects of the folk music revival on the West Coast of the United States that were quite distinctive yet also increasingly linked to an emerging national and international folk revival network.
- Related digital humanities data and culture mapping project: Revising Humbead’s Revised Map of the World.
- Culture Rover: Promiscuous Cultural Criticism
- Glitching for Historical Inquiry
- A digital humanities project to develop new modes of close reading through computational “deformance” of images and sound.
- Issues in Digital History
- Blog on topics in digital history.
- Atlantic World Forum
- An annual digital roundtable and seminar featuring international scholars collaborating and writing in multimedia formats about topics in transatlantic cultural history.