Pedelty, Mark 1964- (Mark Holmes Pedelty)

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Pedelty, Mark 1964- (Mark Holmes Pedelty)


Born January 22, 1964. Education: University of California, Los Angeles, B.A.; University of California, Berkeley, M.A., Ph.D.


Office—University of Minnesota, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 111 Murphy Hall, 206 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455. E-mail—[email protected]


Writer, media ethnographer, anthropologist, and educator. University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, media ethnographer.


War Stories: The Culture of Foreign Correspondents, Routledge (New York, NY), 1995.

Musical Ritual in Mexico City: From the Aztec to NAFTA, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 2004.

Contributor to books, including Reinventing Ourselves: Interdisciplinary Education, Collaborative Learning, and Experimentation in Higher Education, edited by Barbara Leigh Smith and John McCann, Anker (Boston, MA), 2001.

Contributor to periodicals, including Critical Studies in Mass Communication.


Writer and educator Mark Pedelty is a media ethnographer and anthropologist. He holds B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees in anthropology. In addition to his academic studies of media ethnography, he also conducts research on the use of music as mass communication.

In his first book, War Stories: The Culture of Foreign Correspondents, Pedelty examines the multiple influences, positive and negative, that exist for journalists and correspondents covering wars in foreign countries. His study focuses on journalists who covered the civil war in El Salvador. He looks at the realities of practicing professional journalism in dangerous and harrowing environments, and at the ways that stressed-out reporters relax and play. He defines the culture of international correspondents and takes stock of the characteristics of a successful war reporter and what makes a journalist willing to risk injury and death to report on events that few may notice or care about in far-away countries and conflicts. Pedelty also outlines many of the myths, rituals, and other practices that influence the lives of journalists in war.

Pedelty takes up the topic of the importance of music in Mexican social and cultural life in Musical Ritual in Mexico City: From the Aztec to NAFTA. In this book, he "uses a combination of historical and ethnographic research techniques to show the importance of musical ritual in Mexico City," noted Jane L. Florine in Popular Music and Society. Throughout fifteen chapters, Pedelty "has undertaken the colossal task of constructing a comprehensive history of Mexico City's entire repertoire of musical traditions," commented Lauryn Salazar in the Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology. The author not only places music and associated rituals into their contemporary context, he also "shows how musical rituals are transformed as they are carried over into the present," Florine noted.

The book is arranged in six chronological parts. Pedelty begins his history with the Mexica, covering 1325 to 1521. He provides a detailed discussion of pre-Colombian Aztec and Mexica music from this period. He also looks at the intersection of ritual music and human sacrifice in these early Mexican societies. Such sacrifice was not demanded by any human agents but by the natural world and the gods and spirits who inhabited that world, Pedelty states. His "account of religious ritual music provides an interesting social analysis of the role of human sacrifice," Salazar commented.

Part two, covering 1521 to 1821, looks at the musical and cultural conflicts between Spain and Mexico, and musical ritual was an important tool used by the colonial Spaniards in maintaining control and dominance over the Mexica and others. Part three, 1821 to 1910, covers the events following Mexico's independence from Spain and cultural turmoil that followed the banning of dances such as the jarabe and the waltz. In part four, Pedelty describes how the corrido, a ballad-like musical form, was used to transmit news about the Mexican revolution. Part five contains an assessment of musical forms in modern Mexico from 1921 to 1968, while part six looks at music in contemporary Mexico from 1968 to 2002. Pedelty considers the modern forms of music that are popular in Mexico City, such as Mexican rock music.

The book's "broad scope of material covered make this book a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the music of Mexico," Salazar remarked. "For all those who seek insight into the general meaning and function of musical ritual and are interested in an historical overview of the topic specific to Mexico City that uses both textual and intertextual analysis, this work will be a valuable one," Florine concluded. "Its easy-to-read writing style and lack of complicated professional jargon will enhance its appeal to a wide interdisciplinary readership."



American Anthropologist, March, 1997, Anna Simons, review of War Stories: The Culture of Foreign Correspondents, p. 225.

Americas: A Quarterly Review of Inter-American Cultural History, October, 2005, Andrew G. Wood, review of Musical Ritual in Mexico City: From the Aztec to NAFTA, p. 283.

Contemporary Sociology, January, 1997, review of War Stories, p. 97.

Hispanic American Historical Review, May, 2007, Alejandro L. Madrid, review of Musical Ritual in Mexico City, p. 376.

Journalism History, spring, 1996, Walter Friedenberg, review of War Stories, p. 30.

Journal of Latin American Anthropology, November, 2005, Gabriela Vargas-Cetina, review of Musical Ritual in Mexico City, p. 475.

Media, Culture & Society, July, 1996, Aleks Sierz, review of War Stories, p. 509.

Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology, winter, 2006, Lauryn Salazar, review of Musical Ritual in Mexico City.

Popular Music and Society, July, 2006, Jane L. Florine, review of Musical Ritual in Mexico City, p. 405.

Social Anthropology, February, 1997, Richard Wilson, review of War Stories, p. 101.

Sociological Review, February, 1997, Simon Cottle, review of War Stories, p. 187.


University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication Web site, (March 27, 2008), faculty (March 27, 2008), faculty profile.