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Super-Short Bio

Michael J. Kramer works at the intersection of historical scholarship, cultural criticism, the arts, civic engagement, and digital technology. He is an Assistant Professor of History at The College at Brockport, SUNY. His website can be found at michaeljkramer.net.

Short Bio

Michael J. Kramer is an Assistant Professor in the History Department at The College at Brockport, SUNY, specializing in Modern United States and transnational history as well as cultural, intellectual, public, and digital history. He is the author of The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture and is at work on a book entitled “This Machine Kills Fascists”: Technology, Tradition, and Democratic Culture in the US Folk Music Revival” as well as a digital public history project about the Berkeley Folk Music Festival and folk music on the West Coast. His website is michaeljkramer.net and his Twitter handle is @kramermj.

Medium Bio

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 The College at Brockport, SUNY, 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, TheaterNewsday, 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.

Full Bio

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”: Technology, Tradition, and Democratic Culture in the US Folk Music Revival, investigates the relationship between modern machines and cultural heritage in the US folk music movement. Typically understood as a Luddite movement, the folk movement in fact included diverse and deep interests in how technology could capture, preserve, and even enhance intangible cultural heritage. This study offers an alternative history to the contemporary rhetoric of “digital disruption,” in which technology interrupts the past; instead, it provides a record of problematically complex efforts to combine tradition with progress. 

This inquiry into technology and tradition in the US folk music movement also includes a public digital history collaboration with the Northwestern University Library to explore the history 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 collaboration 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 catalogue with essays and more about the Festival.

As a digital historian, Kramer is also engaged in more technical research on machine-learning sound analysis softwareimage sonification for historical interpretationspeculative 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 History Department at The College at Brockport, SUNY, 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.

Author Photos

Color (Photo: Todd Balfour) |Color (Photo: Jill Brazel)

Color (Photo: Jill Brazel) | Black and white (Photo: Jill Brazel)

Contact 

michaelk@middlebury.edu | mjkram@icloud.com

CV

CV (pdf)

Book

The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback, 2017)

Current Research

Book Manuscript

“This Machine Kills Fascists”: Technology, Tradition, and Democratic Culture in the US Folk Music Revival

Digital, Multimodal, and Public History Research

Atlantic World Forum

The Berkeley Folk Music Festival and Folk Music on the West Coast

Revising Humbead’s Revised Map of the World: Digitally Remapping the Sixties Folk Music Revival

Image Glitching for Historical Inquiry

“A Foreign Sound To Your Ear”: Image Sonification for Historical Interpretation

Additional Writing

Selected publications & journalism.

Culture Rover – Promiscuous Cultural Criticism

Issues in Digital History

Teaching

Courses & Teaching Philosophy

Consulting

Editing

Dramaturgy

Digital & Public Humanities

Events

Calendar

Old Publication & Events News Page

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License

Culture Rover and other online materials by Michael J. Kramer are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

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