Professor, American Civilization:
American Civilization (Ph.D., Yale University, 1985)
Phone: +1 401 863 1694
Phone 2: +1 401 863 2896
Professor Smulyan is currently researching an anthology, Major Problems in American Popular Culture (Houghton-Mifflin, forthcoming 2009) with Kathy Franz, Department of History, American University. She collaborates with Japanese colleagues and the Center for Digital Initiatives, Brown University Library, on the website, "Perry Visits Japan." Interested in digital scholarship, she is preparing an article comparing two websites about U.S./ Japanese cultural relations. She is also working on a book manuscript, The Most Flexible Medium: Radio After Television.
Susan Smulyan is Professor, Department of American Civilization, a cultural historian of the United States in the twentieth century, and the author of two books: Selling Radio: The Commercialization of American Broadcasting (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992) and Popular Ideologies: Mass Culture at Mid-Century (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). In addition, she has worked on three large web projects: "Whole Cloth: Discovering American History Through Science and Technology"; "Freedom Now!: An Archival Project of Tougaloo College and Brown University"; and "Perry Visits Japan." These websites exist at the intersection between faculty research and teaching. Professor Smulyan teaches courses in popular culture, advertising history, radio, digital scholarship, and American Studies methods, directing nine dissertations, and serving as a reader on twenty five others. She was selected by the American Studies Association as a delegate to the Japanese Association for American Studies and has presented papers in France, Italy, New Zealand, and Australia. In Spring 2009, she will be a Faculty International Scholar, School of Historical Studies, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia.
Funded by the NSF for more than $500,000 with a range of smaller grants, principally from the Lemelson Center at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, this interdisciplinary curriculum project brought together middle and high school teachers with historians of technology and resulted in three units of a multi-unit curriculum being posted on-line (with the help of the Center for Children and Technology) as "Whole Cloth: Discovering American History Through Sicence and Technology".
As part of the Brown-Tougaloo Cooperative Exchange, begun in 1964, a group of Brown and Tougaloo faculty, staff and students examined the freedom movement on the Tougaloo College campus in Jackson Mississippi, and the intertwined histories of the Northern, elite University and the Southern, historically Black College. The students located and scanned documents on both campuses and wrote about their research. The Scholarly Technology Group at Brown provided the scaffolding and the web design. The Ford Foundation, along with various Brown offices, gave funding. The resulting website ("Freedom Now!") sits at the intersection between faculty research and teaching, and gives the Tougaloo and Brown communities insight into their histories.
With the Brown University Library's Center for Digital Initiatives, Smulyan has begun work on new website that centers around an anonymous Japanese scroll (held in the John Hay library at Brown) which features twelve images of Commodore Matthew Perry's first landing in Japan. "Perry Visits Japan" uses student reactions to the images to explore the use of visual material as historical evidence and the cultural differences that come into play with such interpretations. We hope to work with colleagues in Japan to have Japanese students post their impressions of the same images.
Professor Smulyan teaches large lecture courses ("American Popular Culture"and "American Advertising: History and Consequences") as well as undergraduate seminars in radio history, American popular culture abroad, and US/Japanese cultural relations ("From Perry to Pokemon: The United States in Japan and Japan in the United States").
Professor Smulyan's second year course for American Civilization PhD students examines the discipline of American Studies through an innovative historical approach (pairing classic works with revisionist ones; using the ASA program as a text; and asking students to lead discussions on ideas in American Studies). The course also presents an extensive reading list on pedagogical theory; serves as a workshop for student written course syllabi; and hosts guest speakers on the state of academic publishing and granting organizations as well as the challenges facing American academia.
The new graduate seminar on Digital Scholarship takes up how new media has changed teaching, research, and the public presentation of scholarly work and interrogates how on-line practices have blurred the lines among these categories. Team taught with Patrick Yott, Digital Initiatives Librarian at the Brown University Library, the course is designed for MA and PhD students in the humanities and social sciences. Readings and websites introduce students to new ideas as well as new practices. Any specialized technological knowledge that students need is provided within the context of the course, through "labs" (featuring hands-on practice) that introduce software and approaches.
Susan Smulyan has received several research grants and fellowships, from Brown University, the Ford Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, Duke University Library, National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, National Science Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Principal Investigator, Brown-Tougaloo Summer Research Project, $65,000: Funding came from the Ford Foundation ($20,000); Brown President's Office ($20,000); Undergraduate Teaching and Research Assistantships ($15,000); Provost's Office ($5,000); and the Dean of the College's Office ($5,000). Three faculty members and six students spent two weeks at Brown and eight weeks at Tougaloo working in the Civil Rights Movement Archives
Watson Institute for International Studies, $1,000 for travel to conference in Bologna, IT, June 2002
J. Walter Thompson Research Fellowship, John W. Hartman Center for Sales, Advertising & Marketing History, Duke University Library, $1,000, April 2001
Watson Institute for International Studies, $4,000 for travel to Japan, October 2000
University-funded Small Grants Program, $1,000 for travel to Tokyo, Japan for research, June 1998
Coordinator, contract between Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, and The Center for Children and Technology, Educational Development Center, $75,000. Design and implement WWW site for middle and high school students and teachers. Six months, awarded 9/97.
Principal Investigator, grant from the Educational Opportunity Fund, Smithsonian Institution, to Lemelson Center to fund Teacher Advisory Group for WWW project, $35,000. One year, awarded 9/97.
Principal Investigator, subcontract with the Slater Mill Historic Site, "Preserving Our Endangered Past: A Series of Workshops," funded by National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, $22,000 (subcontract, $6,000)
Principal Investigator, National Endowment for the Humanities, Higher Education Focus Grant, "Introducing American Studies: A Collaborative, Multicultural and Interdisciplinary Course," $25,000, 1996; final report published on the WWW: http://www.georgetown.edu/crossroads/syllabi/brown-intro
Principal Investigator, "Discovering Science and Technology Through History," proposal of the Society for the History of Technology to the National Science Foundation, $358,000, awarded July, 1990 for two years; supplemental grant, $70,000, awarded August, 1992. Designed interdisciplinary curriculum for the social studies classroom. Wrote and edited eight units (100 activities) focusing on textiles.
- "Perry Visits Japan"
- "Freedom Now: An Archival Project of Tougaloo College and Brown University"
- "Whole Cloth"