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Mark Dewitt


Ph.D., Ethnomusicology, University of California, Berkeley, 1998
M.A., Ethnomusicology, University of California, Berkeley, 1992
M.M., Music Theory, New England Conservatory of Music, 1990
S.B., Urban Studies & Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1983

Dr. Mark F. DeWitt joined the music faculty of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in July 2010 as the inaugural holder of the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music. After studying piano, double bass, and voice as a youth, he did his undergraduate work at MIT in urban studies and took private voice lessons on the side. He worked as a computer programmer for four years before enrolling in graduate studies at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied composition with Robert DiDomenica and theory with Gerald Zaritzky and Robert Cogan. He then completed doctoral work in ethnomusicology at University of California, Berkeley under Benjamin Brinner, where he taught courses in sightsinging and Music in American Cultures and assisted with University Chorus and African American Music. During his dissertation research, he studied button accordion with Danny Poullard. He has also taught at Ohio State University and is past President of the Northern California Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology. His Popular Music and Society article on the Cajun accordion won the Society for Ethnomusicology's 2004 Klaus P. Wachsmann Prize for "innovative methods in the study of musical instruments."



Books and Book Chapters

2012. “From Chanky-Chank to Yankee Chanks: The Cajun Accordion as Identity Symbol,” in The Accordion in the Americas: Klezmer, Polka, Tango, Zydeco, and More!, Helena Simonett, editor. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

2011. Editor, Roots Music, part of The Library of Essays on Popular Music, Allan Moore, Series Editor. Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing.

2008. Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

2006. “Heritage, Tradition and Travel: Louisiana French Culture Placed on a California Dance Floor,” in Accordions, Fiddles, Two Step & Swing: A Cajun Music Reader, Ryan A. Brasseaux and Kevin S. Fontenot, editors. Lafayette, LA: Center for Louisiana Studies

1998. “The Cajun and Zydeco Music and Dance Scene in Northern California: Ethnicity, Authenticity, and Leisure.” Doctoral dissertation. Benjamin Brinner, Chair; David Wessel, John Ogbu.


2009. "Louisiana Creole Bals de maison in California and the Accumulation of Social Capital." the world of music 51(1):17-34

2003. "The Diatonic Button Accordion in Ethnic Context: Idiom and Style in Cajun Dance Music." Popular Music and Society 26(3):305-30

2001. “In the Cajun Idiom: Mutual Influences of Dance Music Style and Diatonic Accordion Technique.” Musical Performance 3(2-4):185-214. Special issue on "The Accordion In All Its Guises," Malcolm Miller, guest editor.

1999. Guest editor’s preface to special issue on Music, Travel, and Tourism (Contributors: Vicki Brennan, Judith Cohen, Timothy Cooley, Mark DeWitt, Martin Stokes, and Jeff Titon). the world of music 41(3):5-9

1999. "Heritage, Tradition and Travel: Louisiana French Culture Placed on a California Dance Floor." the world of music 41(3):57-83

1999. Entries for Nathan Abshire and Harry Choates in American National Biography, Oxford University Press.


Forthcoming. Recording reviews of The Rough Guide to Cajun Dance (RGNET 1139) and The Rough Guide to Zydeco (RGNET 1145). Ethnomusicology.

2005. Book review of Four Parts, No Waiting: A Social History of American Barbershop Harmony by Gage Averill (Oxford University Press). Ethnomusicology 49(1):123-126

2004. Recording reviews of The Carrière Brothers: Old Time Louisiana Creole Music (Arhoolie CD 512) and The Best of Clifton Chenier: The King of Zydeco and Louisiana Blues (Arhoolie CD 474), Yearbook for Traditional Music 36:190-191

2003. Recording reviews of The Best of the Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band (Arhoolie CD 500) and Luderin Darbone's Hackberry Ramblers. Early Recordings: 1935-1950 (Arhoolie CD 7050). Yearbook for Traditional Music 35:220-22

2001. Recording review of Planet Squeezebox: Accordion Music From Around the World (ellipsis arts... CD 3470). Musical Performance 3(2-4):259-268