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Mark F. DeWitt

Headshot of Mark DeWittDr. Mark F. DeWitt is an ethnomusicologist and author of Cajun and Zydeco Dance Music in Northern California: Modern Pleasures in a Postmodern World (University Press of Mississippi, 2008), along with several book chapters and journal articles. 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."

Dr. DeWitt holds the Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Traditional Music at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he has directed an undergraduate curriculum and degree program in traditional music, especially Cajun and Creole French music, since its inception in 2010. He teaches undergraduate courses on the history of Cajun and zydeco music, traditional music in North America, and world music, as well as a graduate seminar on ethnomusicology. He has served on the board of the Vermilionville Living History Museum Foundation. and as book review editor for the journal Ethnomusicology.

DeWitt received a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of California, Berkeley; the M.M. in music theory from New England Conservatory of Music; and a bachelor's degree in urban studies and planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


Books and Book Chapters

2019. “Singing for la Mêche Perdue: Reconciling Economic, Environmental, and Cultural Imperatives in Louisiana,” in Cultural Sustainabilities: Music, Media, Language, Advocacy, edited by Timothy J. Cooley, foreword by Jeff Todd Titon, 87-100. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

2017. “Training in Local Oral Traditions: Analysis of Postsecondary Music Programs in North America.” In College Music Curricula for a New Century, edited by Robin D. Moore, 69-97. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

2016. “From the Bayou to the Bay: Louisiana French Dance Music in Northern California.” In The Music of Multicultural America: Performance, Identity, and Community in the United States, edited by Kip Lornell and Anne Rasmussen, 311-339. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.

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.


2020. Book review of South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous, 2nd ed., by John Broven, Gretna, LA: Pelican Publishing (2019), Louisiana History 61(3): 343-346.

2011. Recording reviews of The Rough Guide to Cajun Dance (RGNET 1139) and The Rough Guide to Zydeco (RGNET 1145). Ethnomusicology 55(2):355-360.

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