Dr. Eric KramerDr. Eric Kramer

Professor, Communication
University of Oklahoma

Office: 405-641-1911
Fax: 405-325-7625
email: Eric Kramer

About MeOU Ice Storm

Born and raised in northern Ohio, I’ve taught and lived in each of the following places; Boston, Seattle, Virginia, Xalapa Mexico, Taichung Taiwan, Kyoto and Tokyo. I have lived and worked for a year or more in Sofia Bulgaria as a Fulbright scholar, and in Taiwan as a visiting fellow at Feng Chia University. I was the first “western” academic elected to faculty status in the prestigious school of journalism and mass communication at the National University Saint Kliment Ohridsky, Sofia. As a teenager I spent the summers working fishing camps in northern Ontario. There I learned very valuable lessons about quietude and solitude. I originally went to university on a wrestling scholarship in 1975. I graduated Cum Laude with a dual major in sociology and philosophy in 1978 from Ohio University. In 1980 I accepted a graduate appointment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Chicago, but had to leave due to financial reasons. I like to try to paint and take photos. Herein are modified studies I did of Magritte’s Empire of Light and a whimsical family portrait of some pets from the past. You will also find a link to my Picasa Web Albums. It is best to view it as a slide show because then Picasa features are operable.  I find shifting from one medium (writing) to another affords me a valuable chance to expand and recharge. The older I get the more I realize that rarely are things (or people) as bad as we think they are or as good as we think they are. 


I finished my Ph.D. in 1988 in mass communications at Ohio University. For the curious I have attached the table of contents (pdf) and full text (pdf) of my dissertation. I had the very good fortune of being chaired by Professor Hal Himmelstein who ignited my interest in Roland Barthes’ small but lucid works and Raymond Williams’ writings. These integrated perfectly with my studies of Greimas with whom my mentor in philosophy Algis Mickunas was collaborating at the time, and my years of study in sociology focusing mostly on the Frankfurt School and environmental sociology. Because of my background in quantitative methods in sociology, I worked as a research assistant in the Audience Research Center with Professor James Webster who taught me the value of clarity and simplicity in quantitative research design.


I also have a Masters in sociology.  My thesis was on the social impact of large-scale strip mining.  I spent a summer interviewing everyone over 15 years of age in a small town in southeastern Ohio that was completely surrounded by massive dragline operations.  Professor Mickunas arranged for Jürgen Habermas to be a reader of my sociology thesis.  For philosophy I wrote a thesis on Ch’an Buddhism with Professor Troy Organ but I decided it was anathema to “Zen” to “defend” it.  So I let it go.  I was invited to attend the Collegium Phaenomenologicum, in Perugia, Italy where I had the distinct pleasure of participating for five hours each day in seminars led by Hans-Georg Gadamer, Paul Ricoeur, Thomas Seebohm, Pina Moneta, Karl Schuhmann, and others.  Along with others, notably Eiichi Shimomissé, Hiroshi Kojima and Keiichi Noé, I was elected to select invitees and organize two Japanese—Western Joint Conferences on Phenomenology that featured many prominent scholars such as Don Ihde, David Carr, Richard Lanigan, Tadashi Ogawa, Rudolf Makkreel, Lester Embree, and Burt Hopkins.  I also spent a year studying neuropsychology with Karl Pribram at his Brain Research Center and a year studying symbology and comparative civilizations with Detlef Ingo Lauf of the Carl Jung Institute, Geneva.  I studied Russian formalism with the Russian émigré poet Tomas Venclova. I came of academic age at a time when the linguistic turn was confronting the New Criticism and the so-called post-positivistic structuralism. 


For the past 19 years I have been at the University of Oklahoma in the Department of Communication.  I am also an affiliate faculty of the SIAS Institute and Department of International and Areas Studies and I am also on the faculty of Film and Video Studies.  I am the coordinator for the University of Oklahoma’s Advanced Programs graduate studies in International Relations which offers seminars toward a Masters Degree in International Relations in Europe and Asia, and I am liaison between the Department of Communication and the Health Sciences Center of the University of Oklahoma school of medicine in Oklahoma City.  I am editor of a book series, Comparative Civilizations and Communication, for Hampton Press.  I am a Fellow in The Communicology Institute, and I am a founding director of the European Union Institute of Comparative Cultures.  I serve on the review and editorial boards and have reviewed for several journals including; The Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics, The Journal of Communication, Communication Studies, The Journal of Applied Communication, The Journal of Intercultural Communication, The Howard Journal of Communications, and so forth.  I have directed over 30 doctoral dissertations and my former doctoral students now teach at many places including New York University, Rice University, University of Incheon, Incheon Korea, the University of Richmond, The International Christian University in Tokyo, California State University, Sacramento, The University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, Brigham Young University, Bowling Green University, The University of Central Florida, John Carroll University, Ohio University, Daegu University, Daegu Korea, Hofstra University, The Kyoto University College of Medicine, and so forth.  A couple of former graduate students who studied semiotics with me took jobs on Madison Avenue in major advertising agencies. I told you semiotics is practical! Just for a taste, three of my favorite old friends are The Ever-Present Origin by Jean Gebser, Technics and Civilization by Lewis Mumford and The Responsive Chord by Tony Schwartz. Though not so highly regarded as the others, the last book has insights in it that are quite provocative. Much of my research centers on what is broadly called medium theory and also civilizational studies/intercultural communication. Highlights of my teaching other than helping students realize their own research agendas include having team-taught a class for a semester with Steve Allen, who was very bright, funny, talented, and who knew everyone in American television it seemed, and having fun helping students write and perform radio dramas on WVRU, in Virginia. I had my first radio show on WMRN in Marion, Ohio when I was 15 (where Rod Serling got his start by the way). I was the media coordinator for the Red Cross during the Murrah Federal Building bombing in Oklahoma City. I structured and coordinated all media access to the families of victims who gathered for counseling and notification for the first 2 weeks after the attack at the First Christian Church of Oklahoma City.