Symposia – Hard Times and Hard Travellin

12th Jun 2012, 6:00pm - 8:00pm

Business Learning Centre

Hard Times and Hard Travellin: Woody Guthrie and the Great Depression by Will Kaufman, Professor of American Literature & Culture, University of Central Lancashire.

Professor in American Literature & Culture and professional folk singer Will Kaufman will visit Edge Hill University to deliver a unique performance of the songs of US singer-songwriter Woody Guthrie.  He will use these songs to examine the Great Depression, the backdrop of much of Guthrie’s famous work as he travelled from Oklahoma to California, or ‘The Dust Bowl’, with migrant workers during the 1930s.  He is considered one of America’s greatest balladeers, achieving a host of national honours, with his song “This Land Is Your Land” considered the second national anthem of the US.  Despite these patriotic associations, Woody Guthrie was committed to the political and radical struggle and is named as the inspiration of other politically motivated artists, such as Bob Dylan, John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen and Joe Strummer.

Will Kaufman has expertise in American comedy, the culture of the American Civil War, transatlantic studies, the American 1970s, and American protest music.  He is one of the UK’s senior scholars in American Studies, he has served on the executive committee of the British Association for American Studies and has been Vice-Chair of the Association.  He is also a co-founder of the Maastricht (now Middleburg) Centre for Transatlantic Studies in the Netherlands.

This event is funded by Edge Hill University, the Barack Obama Research Network and the Arts and Humanities Research Council.


  • Arrival – 5.15pm
  • Lecture – 6.00pm
  • Post event refreshments – 7:15pm

Book your free place.