Michael J. Kramer is an assistant professor of history at SUNY Brockport. His website can be found at michaeljkramer.net.
Michael J. Kramer is an assistant professor in the Department of History at SUNY Brockport. He specializes in modern US cultural and intellectual history, transnational history, and public and digital history. He is the author of The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 2013) and is currently writing a book about technology and tradition in the US folk music movement, This Machine Kills Fascists: What the Folk Music Revival Can Teach Us About the Digital Age. He is also at work on a digital public history project about the Berkeley Folk Music Festival and the Sixties Folk Music Revival on the US West Coast. In addition to experience as an editor, museum professional, and dance dramaturg, he has written 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 US Intellectual History Book Reviews. Kramer blogs at Culture Rover and Issues in Digital History. More information about his research, teaching, and public scholarship can be found at his website, michaeljkramer.net.
Michael J. Kramer works at the interdisciplinary intersection of historical scholarship, cultural criticism, the arts, civic engagement, and digital technology. His book The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback, 2017) draws on new archival sources and oral history interviews to explore late sixties and early seventies music and politics in two key locations: San Francisco and Vietnam. Tracking a vibrant engagement with questions of civics and citizenship within new logics of cooptation— “hip capitalism” in the Bay Area and a strange kind of “hip militarism” developed by the US Armed Forces in Southeast Asia—Kramer uncovers how the genre of countercultural rock music became a resource for everyday people to grapple with the nature of democracy under the rule of American power both domestically and globally.
His new book-in-progress, “This Machine Kills Fascists”: What the Folk Music Revival Can Teach Us About the Digital Age, investigates uses of machines to explore cultural heritage in the American folk music movement, broadly conceived. The project proposes that the imperfect efforts of folk revivalists, typically thought of as Luddites, to harness technology in service of cultural heritage suggests alternatives to the contemporary, uber-modernist rhetoric of digital “disruption.” Accompanying this study is a digital public history project focused on The Berkeley Folk Music Festival and folk music on the West Coast. The Berkeley Festival took place annually on the University of California campus between 1958 and 1970. The project will result in a fully searchable digitized database of the Berkeley Folk Music Festival Collection’s 30,000-plus artifacts; a curated, interactive website that tells the history of the Festival; a series of podcasts inspired by the Berkeley event; a traveling exhibition that features many remarkable, unpublished photographs from the archive; and an illustrated catalog with essays about the Festival.
As a digital historian, Kramer is also engaged in more technical research on machine-learning sound analysis software; image sonification for historical interpretation; speculative and deep mapping; and models for global digital humanities collaboration. He serves on the editorial board for the international project Trans@tlantic Cultures: A Digital Platform for Transatlantic Cultural History, 1700-Now, for which he is developing an intensive online scholarly roundtable, Atlantic World Forum. He also is a digital consultant for The Chicago Dance History Project.
Other work beyond academia includes serving as dramaturg and historian-in-residence for The Seldoms, an award-winning contemporary dance company based in Chicago. In the past, he has worked in publishing and journalism as 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.
Kramer is an assistant professor in the Department of History at SUNY Brockport, outside Rochester, New York, and splits his time between there and Chicago. 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. 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.
Kramer has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, First of the Month, The National Memo, The Point, Theater, Newsday, and the US Intellectual History Blog. He blogs at Culture Rover and Issues in Digital History. His website can be found at michaeljkramer.net.
Digital, Multimodal & Public History Research
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