by Mark Kissling
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This is a transcription of the audio interview and its introduction. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Greetings from State College, Pennsylvania.
My name is Mark Kissling. I am an assistant professor of education at Penn State University. I’m also the guest editor of the Bank Street Occasional Papers Series issue #40 titled, “Am I Patriotic?” The purpose of the issue is to complicate how we think about and enact patriotism, with a particular focus on how teachers teach and students learn about patriotism.
So how does this relate to Bruce Springsteen and the interview that you’re about to hear?
In mid-December of 2008, I spent two days at the Woody Guthrie Archives—then in New York City, now in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was working on a project investigating the history of Guthrie’s most famous song, “This Land Is Your Land,” including how teachers in U.S. schools over the past six decades have used the song as a curricular resource to teach about patriotism.
During this time, Bruce graciously sat down with me at his home in New Jersey for an interview about how he learned the song and why he began playing it at concerts in the early 1980s.
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