Songs Without Words

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Songs Without Words is a digital exhibit made possible by a Faculty Development Grant from the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury.


Project Director. Amanda Frisken is an Associate Professor of American Studies at the State University of New York, College at Old Westbury, where she teaches a range of courses in American history, society and culture. She received her PhD from the History Department at SUNY Stony Brook in 1999. Her book, Victoria Woodhull’s Sexual Revolution: Political Theater and the Popular Press in Nineteenth Century America, was published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2004. Her current book project, tentatively titled Sensationalism and Modern Culture, concerns controversies surrounding visual culture and commercial media in late-nineteenth century America.

Web Design and Research Assistance. Pamela Robinson is a student at University of Massachusetts-Boston where she is pursuing her MA in American Studies. She works with students in undergraduate courses in American Studies as a Teacher’s Assistant for the University as well. As a public speaker, she has dedicated herself to helping others get a more in-depth understanding of the world around them. She graduated from SUNY College at Old Westbury in December 2010 with a BA in American Studies and Media Communications.

Advisory Board:

Jermaine Archer is an Assistant Professor of American Studies and African-American history at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury. His book Antebellum Slave Narratives: Political and Cultural Expressions of Africa was published in 2009.  He recently received the 2013 SUNY Chancellors Award for Excellence in teaching. His current research investigates how nineteenth century paintings and narratives can serve as a lens for African-American parades, festivals and celebrations.

Samara Smith, a documentary media practitioner and educator, creates site-specific mobile media projects in and about public space. “Chain Reaction,” her locative game exploring urban environments, was exhibited at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles. “Anyplace, Brooklyn,” her audio walking tour about urban space and development, was featured at the Conflux Festival. Samara has over 13 years of documentary film experience with credits on many award-winning films, including Rick Burns’ PBS series “New York: A Documentary Film,” and Judith Helfand’s HBO documentary “Blue Vinyl.” Samara is an Assistant Professor at SUNY College at Old Westbury and holds an MFA in Integrated Media Arts from Hunter College.

Technical Support:

Songs Without Words was originally created in WordPress using the "sunspot" theme. In August 2014, the site was adapted for Omeka, a digital history platform developed by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, for greater compatibility with other online reference resources.

Technical support for the transition from WordPress to Omeka platform was provided by Two Cat Studios and Monstrous Design.