Ecomusicology, Music Studies, and IASPM: Beyond “Epistemic Inertia”


  • Mark Pedelty University of Minnesota



ecomusicology, ecology, environment, interdisciplinary, pastoral, music studies


Ecomusicologists have answered Philip Tagg’s call to develop a more interdisciplinary and interprofessional “music studies.” Ecomusicologists are demonstrating an exceptional openness to theories and methodologies generated from outside their home disciplines. Of course, no single transdisciplinary conversation will solve all of the problems Philip Tagg outlines in “Caught on the Back Foot: epistemic inertia and visible music” (2011). However, ecomusicology provides evidence that a more holistic, integral, and relational music studies is possible. The chapter will outline four ecomusicological literatures as evidence: ecocritical musicology, soundscape studies, ecohistorical scholarship, and ecosystems communication approaches. Pastoral ideologies have inhibited ecological research in the past, but recent advances have helped the environmental study of music become more relational and relevant.

Author Biography

Mark Pedelty, University of Minnesota

Mark Pedelty is associate professor of Anthropology and Communication Studies at the University of Minnesota. He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from UC, Berkeley in 1993. He is the author of War Stories: The Culture of Foreign Correspondents (Routledge 1995), Musical Ritual in Mexico City: From the Aztec to NAFTA (University of Texas 2004), Ecomusicology: Rock, Folk and the Environment (Temple University Press 2012), and a number of journal articles dealing with popular music. Dr. Pedelty teaches courses in music as communication, ethnographic methods, and environmental communication, and has taught several study abroad seminars in Mexico.


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