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The Woody Guthrie Award

The International Association for the Study of Popular Music-US Branch (IASPM-US) presents the Woody Guthrie Awards each year to the most outstanding books on popular music.

  • Beginning in 2022,  two awards will be given: one for the most outstanding book that is an author’s first monograph, and one for the most outstanding book beyond an author’s first monograph.
  • Winners are announced each year at the IASPM-US Annual Conference. Award winners receive a monetary award and are invited to deliver the Woody Guthrie Lecture, a keynote address, at the following year’s IASPM-US conference; they are also invited to have the lecture published in the organization’s Journal of Popular Music Studies.
  • IASPM-US requests your nominations for the most distinguished English language monograph in popular music studies published during 2021. Books may be nominated by any member in good standing of IASPM, by members of the prize committee, by their authors, or by publishers. Copyrights must state 2021.
  • Nominations should be sent electronically to Paula Harper by 31 October 2022 and should include the author’s name, book title, whether the book is the author’s first book, and publisher’s information including ISBN. The society will announce the winner at the spring 2023 IASPM-US meeting.
  • Please feel free to contact Paula with any questions.

2021 Woody Guthrie Book Award Winner

The IASPM-US Awards Committee is pleased to award the 2021 Woody Guthrie Award to both Áine Mangoang’s Dangerous Mediations: Pop Music in a Philippine Prison Video (Bloomsbury) and Deborah Wong’s Louder and Faster: Pain, Joy, and the Body Politic in Asian American Taiko (University of California Press).

 ine Mangoang’s Dangerous Mediations: Pop Music in a Philippine Prison Video is innovative and timely. The deep reflection and analysis that transpire throughout its pages, based on a 4:26 minute YouTube video, goes beyond thick description; it is a masterful example of digital media scholarship centered on popular music. Building on existing literature on music and power, subversion, trauma, colonialism, and violence, the author offers a serious interrogation of the complicity of performers, audiences, and media in shaping power dynamics and subjectivities in a globalized postcolonial context. While focused on a narrowly contained case, the applicability of the ethical questions raised resonate across media studies, music studies, postcolonial studies, and beyond.

Deborah Wong’s Louder and Faster: Pain, Joy, and the Body Politic in Asian American Taiko is beautifully and evocatively written, with both a deep sonic sensitivity in the prose, and a successful entangling of the reader within the spaces and social networks and relationships it depicts. While theoretically rich, the language is accessible to a wide variety of audiences ranging from readers with little or no background in music studies to scholars in musicology, ethnomusicology, ethnic studies, and more. Wong’s positioning of taiko offers productive challenge to operating exclusive definitions of traditional and popular musics. Lastly, the relevance of the life-long work by an Asian American scholar today cannot be overstated. As anti-Asian racist incidents have skyrocketed to horrific extents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the nuanced understanding that this book brings to the study of this minoritized community and practice is urgently needed – a framework for examining pain and rage, but also joy. Louder and Faster is a model for engaging the sonic through autoethnography of performance.

The committee also awarded an honorable mention to Kyle Devine’s Decomposed: The Political Ecology of Music (The MIT Press)

This book is an excellent example of “musicology without music.” Focused on the materiality of musical media, the author investigates the environmental impact on the music industry, a dimension of music that needs further consideration in music studies and environmental studies. By focusing on music as an element in a larger political economy, Devine incisively highlights processes of “dispossession” and “decomposition” that challenge music listeners, performers, and scholars to consider the sustainability of our listening habits, often obscured by the supposedly immaterial nature of the digital age.

Previous Woody Guthrie Award Winners


Mark Burford. Mahalia Jackson and the Black Gospel Field (Oxford University Press)

Honorable Mention:
Dale Chapman. The Jazz Bubble (University of California Press).


Kristina M. Jacobsen. The Sound of Navajo Country: Music, Language, and Diné Belonging (UNC Press)

Honorable Mention:
Licia Fiol-Matta. The Great Woman Singer: Gender and Voice in Puerto Rican Music (Duke University Press)


John Troutman. Kika Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music (UNC Press)


Allison McCracken. Real Men Don’t Sing: Crooning in American Culture (Duke University Press)


Eric Weisbard. Top 40 Democracy: The Rival Mainstreams of American Music (University of Chicago Press)

Honorable Mentions:
Nadine Hubbs. Rednecks, Queers, and Country Music (University of California Press)

Barry Shank. The Political Force of Musical Beauty (Duke University Press)


Lila Ellen Gray Fado Resounding: Affective Politics and Urban Life (Duke University Press)

Honorable Mentions:
Todd Decker. Show Boat: Performing Race in an American Musical (Oxford University Press)

Marc A. Hertzman. Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil (Duke University Press)


Deborah R. Vargas. Dissonant Divas in Chicana Music: The Limits of La Onda (University of Minnesota Press)

Honorable Mention:
Mark Katz. Groove Music: The Art and Culture of the Hip-Hop DJ (Oxford University Press)


Nona Willis Aronowitz, ed, Ellen Willis. Out of the Vinyl Deeps: Ellen Willis on Rock Music (University of Minnesota Press)

Kevin Fellezs. Birds of Fire: Jazz, Rock, Funk and the Creation of Fusion (Duke University Press)


Karl Hagstrom Miller. Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow (Duke University Press)

Honorable Mention:
Katherine Meizel Idolized: Music, Media and Identity in American Idol (Indiana University Press)


Steve Waksman. This Ain’t the Summer of Love: Conflict and Crossover in Heavy Metal and Punk (University of California Press)

Honorable Mentions:
Annie Randall. Dusty! Queen of the Postmods (Oxford University Press)

David Suisman. Selling Sounds: The Commercial Revolution in American Music (Harvard University Press)

Elijah Wald. How the Beatles Destroyed Rock ‘n’ Roll: An Alternative History of American Popular Music (Oxford University Press)


Alejandro Madrid. Nor-tec Rifa! Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World (Oxford University Press)

Honorable Mentions:
Charles Hiroshi Garrett. Struggling to Define a Nation: American Music and the Twentieth Century (University of California Press)

Marybeth Hamilton. In Search of the Blues (Basic Books)


Ingrid Monson. Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Call Out to Jazz and Africa (Oxford University Press)


Heidi Feldman. Black Rhythms of Peru: Reviving the African Musical Heritage in the Black Pacific (Wesleyan University Press)


Steven F. Pond. Head Hunters: The Making of Jazz’s First Platinum Album (University of Michigan Press)

Honorable Mentions:
Paul Austerlitz. Jazz Consciousness: Music, Race, and Humanity (Wesleyan University Press)

Lisa Rhodes. Electric Ladyland: Women and Rock Culture (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Daniel Goldmark. Tunes for ‘Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon (University of California Press)


Bryan McCann. Hello, Hello Brazil: Popular Music in the Making of Modern Brazil (Duke University Press)

Honorable Mention:
Tim Lawrence. Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979 (Duke University Press)


Guthrie Ramsey. Race Music: Black Cultures From Bebop to Hip-Hop (University of California Press)


Bernard Gendron. Between Monmartre and the Mudd Club: Popular Music and the Avant Garde (University of Chicago Press)


Gary Giddins. Bing Crosby: A Pocketful Of Dreams: The Early Years 1903-1940 (Back Bay Books)

Theodore Gracyk. I Wanna Be Me: Rock Music and the Politics of Identity (Temple University Press)


Norman Stolzoff. Wake the Town and Tell the People: Dancehall Culture In Jamaica (Duke University Press)


Adelaida Reyes. Songs of the Caged, Songs of the Free: Music and the Vietnamese Experience (Temple University Press)

Honorable Mention:
Steve Waksman. Instruments of Desire: The Electric Guitar and the Shaping of Musical Experience (Harvard University Press)


Frances R. Aparicio. Listening to Salsa: Gender, Latin Popular Music, and Puerto Rican Cultures (Wesleyan University Press/University Press of New England)

Honorable Mention:
Daniel Cavicchi. Tramps Like Us: Music and Meaning among Springsteen Fans (Oxford University Press)


Scott DeVeaux. The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History (University of Califonia Press)


Paul Théberge. Any Sound You Can Imagine: Making Music/Consuming Technology (Wesleyan University Press)

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