“Woody at the Border”

  • Year: 2015
  • Location: Woody Guthrie L.A. 1937-1941
  • Collaborators: Angel City Press

Essay on Woody Guthrie’s connections to the US-Mexico border and histories of immigration. Woody Guthrie L.A.: 1937 to 1941, eds. Darryl Holter and William Deverell.


…if Woody’s Tijuana broadcasts were the secret apolitical beginning of his politicized migrant aesthetics—what he famously called “the art and science of migratin”—the first time that Woody wasn’t singing about borders but straddling them, immersing his songs and stories in a cross-border cultural economy of radio, tourism, and entertainment and a cross-border political economy of immigration, empire, and inspection that would from 1938 onward become associated with his songbook and his legacy, even if he rarely actually returned there, even if the border and Mexican migrancy would become stronger in Woody’s afterlife than they ever were when he was alive.