History & Media Graduate MA Concentration and Multimedia Projects, Department of History, University at Albany, SUNY

History and Media M.A.
Digital Multimedia Initiatives

Malcolm X   scenes from the glove industry

 Eugene Debs Joseph Pagano women workers soldering

The Graduate Program

M.A. Concentration in History and Media

History and Media is now offered as one of three concentrations leading to a Master of Arts degree in History at the University at Albany. The 36-credit course of study allows students to learn and apply specialized media skills — digital history and hypermedia authoring, photography and photoanalysis, documentary filmmaking, oral/video history, and aural history and audio documentary production — to the study of the past. Courses in all of these areas teach students theoretical and applied skills; seminars, along with group and individual project courses, allow them to put those skills into practice on ambitious works.

The History and Media concentration builds on the Department’s strengths in academic and public history and its reputation as an innovator in the realm of digital and multimedia history. The program’s goal is to promote research, writing, and production in areas of scholarship sensitive to the aural and visual dimensions of the past.

The M.A. Concentration in History and Media combines a solid grounding in textual and media historical research, fieldwork, and training in documentary production in a variety of media authoring forms. Students concentrate in two or more of the following areas of history and media:

  • Digital History and Hypermedia Authoring
  • History, Photography, and Photoanalysis
  • Documentary Video/Filmmaking
  • Oral/Video History
  • Aural History and Audio Documentary Production

A Leader in Digital History

The University at Albany’s Department of History has, since the mid-1990s, been one of the pioneering national history departments engaged in wedding historical scholarship and teaching with digital technologies. Our initiatives have been grounded in a belief that the work of historians should not be restricted to the narrow margins of academic discourse. We wanted to make historical thinking and historical reasoning a larger part of American life by bringing history to the airwaves, to television, and to the Internet.

Departmental achievements have been recognized by numerous national and international professional organizations (such as the Oral History Association), by the National Endowment for the Humanities, by the Library of Congress, by the Chronicle of Higher Education, and in journal articles and book chapters that refer to projects initiated here. Projects have integrated substantive scholarship with various media forms and have catalyzed research and pedagogy in areas of scholarship hitherto underrepresented in our profession – areas focused on the aural and visual dimensions of our past.

With more than a dozen years of experience in digital history and in analog and digital media recording, preservation, production, and dissemination, the University at Albany’s Department of History is uniquely positioned to offer a Masters in History and Media. The concentration augments existing offerings and expertise with new courses and faculty members, providing students with an unprecedented opportunity to combine substantive academic study of various regional and thematic historical fields with technical media production skills.

For more information about the 36-credit M.A. concentration in History and Media, please download the program brochure: historymedia.pdf.


Cliomedia: Digital History Initiatives

For more than a decade, the University at Albany’s History Department has supported projects that integrate substantive scholarship with various media forms – projects meant to stimulate, entertain, enlighten, and catalyze further research. These multimedia endeavors include:

Talking History: Aural History Productions
Based at the University at Albany, this is a production, distribution, and instructional facility for all forms of "aural" history. Talking History is also a weekly radio program—broadcast locally and on the Internet—focusing on history: how we recall it, preserve it, interpret it, transform it into myth, and how we pass it on, as teachers, researchers, archivists, documentary filmmakers, and museum curators, among others.

Attica Revisited.
This is an on-going project. With the cooperation of the New York State Archives and the Pacifica Foundation, we are gathering together an extensive collection of audio, video, and textual records of the 1971 Attica rebellion—including written transcripts and audio recordings of the McKay Commission hearings as well as dozens of audio documentaries produced by the Pacifica Foundation. The documentaries contain many hours of interviews with key actors in and observers of the drama played out in September of 1971. We hope you find these resources useful to understanding the history of the event and the history of New York and American penal institutions in general.

Capital Voices ~ Capital Lives
NEH-funded and currently underway,Capital Voices ~ Capital Lives examines the rich diversity of individuals and communities that make up the Greater Capital region of Upstate New York. We will present local history—autobiographies, diaries, oral histories, and exhibits—on the WWW, on local radio and television, and in audio and video documentary productions.

The Glovers of Fulton County
A long-term research and documentation project that examines the glove industry of Fulton County, New York, once a center of world glove production.

Life and Labor in a Corporate Community: An On-Line History of the Endicott Johnson Corporation
A web exhibit that examines the history of one of America's largest shoe and leather manufacturing firms, and its pioneering role in a business reform movement that has come to be known as "Welfare Capitalism."

The Journal for MultiMedia History [1998-2001]
The first peer-reviewed hypermedia/multimedia journal published free of charge on the web, The Journal for MultiMedia History presented multimedia historical essays and explored how radio, television, CD-ROM/DVD technologies, the web, and a variety of other multimedia applications were transforming and expanding the possibilities for research, documentation, and dissemination of historical scholarship.

Schenectady General Electric in the Twentieth Century / General Electric Oral History Project
Begun in 1991 as an oral history and document collection project, this initiative has expanded into multimedia and hypertext production, in order to make accessible to scholars and the general public as full an account as possible of the history of one of the nation's premier electrical industry pioneers. Click on the links below to sample some of the unique documentation involved:

The U.S. Labor and Industrial History Audio Project
A comprehensive collection of audio files pertaining to U.S. labor and industrial history, drawn from various archives.

Writing History/Writing Fiction: A Virtual Conference
Wanting to go beyond traditional academic publications and conference presentations, in 1999 undertook this early experiment in form. Four historians (Allen Ballard, Steven A. Leibo, Reid Mitchell, and William Rainbolt) who write both history and fiction were asked to share and “discuss” their work, and these papers and the exchange they spawned are the core of this site; there is also a guest essay by noted historical novelist, Thomas Mallon.


Lecture and Workshop Series

Students in the M.A. Concentration in History and Media will benefit from the ongoing commitment of the Department to bringing speakers to campus, for events that are generally open to the public as well as to faculty and students.

Past visitors include:

  • Muffie Meyer and Ronald Blumer, of Middlemarch Films, whose credits include Liberty! The American Revolution as well as the biographies Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton—history on screen. The filmmakers were invited as part of the Researching New York conference, held annually on the University at Albany campus.
  • Paul J. Stekler, documentary filmmaker, whose credits include George Wallace: Settin’ the Woods on Fire and the 2008 Frontline presidential special, The Choice—political filmmaking.
  • Stephen Brier, of the American Social History Project, CUNY—Making History Accessible:  The Experience of CUNY's American Social History Project.
  • Laurie Kahn-Leavitt, filmmaker, screenwriter and producer of A Midwife's Tale—History and documentary filmmaking.
  • Joshua Brown, of the American Social History Project, CUNY—Documentary filmmaking.
  • Charles Hardy III, oral historian—Oral history and radio documentary production.
  • Marty Pottenger. Carpenter, playwright, oral historian, performance artist, and director. Author and solo performer on Obie-award winning City Water Tunnel #3—"A Workshop with Marty Pottenger: Oral History and Theater ~ Making City Water Tunnel #3"
  • Dan Collison, independent radio and video documentary producer based in Silver Spring, Maryland and a regular contributor to National Public Radio's news magazine programs and Public Radio International's This American Life.—"History and the Art of Documentary Production : A Workshop with Dan Collison."

Additionally, media producers and speakers are brought in by other departments on campus and by the New York State Writers Institute, where recent visitors have included Dava Sobel (Longitude; Galileo’s Daughter), David Hacket Fischer (Washington’s Crossing; Champlain’s Dream), and many others.


History & Media  |    History Department   |   University at Albany