About: More Info

Super-Short Bio

Michael J. Kramer works at the intersection of historical scholarship, cultural criticism, the arts, and digital technology. He is the author of The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback, 2017). His website can be found at michaeljkramer.net.

Short Bio

Michael J. Kramer works at the intersection of historical scholarship, cultural criticism, the arts, and digital technology. He is the author of The Republic of Rock: Music and Citizenship in the Sixties Counterculture (Oxford University Press, 2013; paperback, 2017). His current book project, This Machine Kills Fascists, explores the relationship between technology and tradition in the US folk music revival from the early twentieth century to the present. It is linked to a digital history project about the Berkeley Folk Music Festival, which took place annually on the University of California campus between 1958 and 1970, and Kramer is also is engaged in more technical digital history research on image sonification for historical interpretationmachine-learning sound analysis software, deep mapping, and models for global digital humanities collaboration. He teaches history, American studies, and digital humanities at Middlebury College, where he is Acting Director of the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative. He previously taught at Northwestern University, where he 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 an editor at the website of the New York Times and in the Design, Publishing, and New Media Department at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago as well as served as a dance and theater dramaturg. He has written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, First of the Month, The National Memo, The Point, Theater, and Newsday, and he blogs at Culture Rover and Issues in Digital History. His website is michaeljkramer.net.

Full Bio

Michael J. Kramer works at the interdisciplinary intersection of historical scholarship, cultural criticism, the arts, 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 research investigates the relationship between technology and tradition in the US folk music revival. Typically understood as a Luddite movement, the folk revival 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, which 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 interpretation; 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 and also as 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. Future research focuses on the history of arts criticism in the United States, an intellectual history of the anarchist imagination in America, a history of the service worker in the US, and a biography of Chicago dance critic Ann Barzel. Kramer teaches history, American studies, and digital humanities at Middlebury College, where he is Acting Director of the Digital Liberal Arts Initiative. He previously taught at Northwestern University, where he 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 written for numerous publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Salon, First of the Month, The National Memo, The Point, Theater, and Newsday, and blogs at Culture Rover and Issues in Digital History. His website is michaeljkramer.net.

Author Photos

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)


Research In Progress

Book In Progress

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

Digital Research

The Berkeley Folk Music Festival Project

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

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

Atlantic World Forum: Reimagining the Online Scholarly Roundtable, Reshaping the Global Digital Humanities, Reframing Circum-Atlantic Cultural Histories

Future Research

The History of American Arts Criticism: A Review

Freethinkers: The Anarchist Imagination in America

The Service Worker: A Cultural History

Ann Barzel: Dance Critic on the Third Coast


Additional Writing

Selected publications and journalism.

Culture Rover – Promiscuous Cultural Criticism

Issues in Digital History


Teaching

Courses and Teaching Philosophy


Consulting

Editing

Dramaturgy

Digital and Public Humanities


Events

Panels and Presentations

Old Publication and Events News Page


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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