Penn State conference on Woody Guthrie seeking presentation ideas

University Park, Pa. – Woody Guthrie, an American folk singer known for writing the song “This Land is Your Land,” would have been 100 years old this summer had he lived.

Penn State, in partnership with The GRAMMY Museum and the Woody Guthrie Foundation, will be one of four universities hosting a centennial event honoring the music legend.

Woody@100, Woody’s Legacy to Working Men and Women, will take place Sept. 7-9, at various locations across Penn State’s University Park campus.

Jerry Zolten, conference facilitator and associate professor of communication arts and sciences at Penn State Altoona, has issued a call for papers on Guthrie. Papers may address any aspect of Guthrie’s legacy and influence including folk music, art, literature, rhetoric, philosophy, media studies, politics, culture, labor history; gender, free speech, class issues, the history of social movements and more.

Woody’s son Arlo Guthrie, Jackson Browne, Roseanne Cash, David Crosby & Graham Nash, Tom Morello, Kris Kristofferson and John Mellencamp have pledged to perform at some Guthrie Centennial events. Zolten hopes the Penn State event will draw a similar lineup.

Woodrow Wilson Guthrie was born July 14, 1912, in Okemah, Okla. He died at the age of 55 in 1967 from Huntington’s Disease. Guthrie wrote over 1,000 songs during his lifetime and influenced the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Jimi Hendrix and countless others.

The deadline to submit a paper proposal is the end of April. To apply, send an abstract of 200 words or less describing the proposal. Submissions will be accepted via email at

For more information, visit online.

Penn State Conferences plans and manages more than 300 programs each year, with enrollments of nearly 45,000. Conferences is part of Penn State Outreach, the largest unified outreach organization in American higher education. Penn State Outreach serves more than 5 million people each year, delivering more than 2,000 programs to people in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and 115 countries worldwide.

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Last Updated July 31, 2012