An Environmental Playlist of the Twentieth Century

Crowd at opening ceremony at the Woodstock music festival, 1969

10 Responses

  1. Jeff Filipiak says:

    Great post!

    I have spent some time studying this topic myself (for research, teaching – and pleasure!), and I think you chose good themes.

    Work is an important theme to discuss; as a look at, for instance, Malone’s “Country Music USA” shows, there’s a lot to analyze there.

    I hadn’t thought of “jungle” as a main theme area, but I can see what can be learned by exploring the importance of that concept. (This book by UW-Madison’s own Craig Werner could help with that exploration:

    I might or might not chime in again later – my writings on John Denver and winter songs have led me to somewhat different conclusions on a few points. But wanted to offer some praise for the piece, before I forget: a helpful contribution to this conversation!

    (Note: another recent piece that may be of interest to readers of this piece is:

  2. Thomas Kivi says:

    Hi Jeff,

    Thanks for the praise and thoughtful feedback on the article! I did not know about “The Ecological Imagination” piece but I’m glad to just had the chance to read it. It bears some resemblance to idea of this piece. It’s a really thoughtful article, especially pointing out the Joni Mitchell shout-out to Rachel Carson with the reference to DDT in her song. The difference, I suppose, is that I argue that the ecological imagination emerges well before there was an ecology discourse–from within the lived, working-class environments (rivers, farm-fields, and mines) in the early-twentieth century.

    I’d like to hear more about your research! I also have a lot of respect for John Denver and was considering a number of Denver songs for the list (Bob Dylan is my all-time favorite though). My own historical research interests are focused on the ethnographic practice of field-recording with the phonograph, looking at (and listening to) a number field-recording projects undertaken by federal, state, and commercial institutions in the Midwest between the 1900s and the 1940s.

    Thanks again for your comment!



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