Brasseaux did his undergraduate work in anthropology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and earned an M.A. from Louisiana State University. He received a M.A. and M. Phil. from Yale in 2008 and his Ph.D. in 2011. He was awarded a Beinecke Research Fellowship, the Lamar Research Scholar, Kinney/Tesoro Fellowships from the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders, and a Prize Teaching Fellowship for excellence in undergraduate instruction and mentorship.
In 2007, Brasseaux helped found Public Humanities at Yale, a graduate student initiative that evolved into an ongoing lecture series and a Masters of Arts program.
He is the author of Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music (Oxford University Press, 2009), co-editor of Accordions, Fiddles, Two Step & Swing: A Cajun Music Reader (2006), and co-author of Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine (2005).
Brasseaux has presented his work across the United States, including invited lectures in New York, Yale University, to the Fulbright Institute, and as the keynote speaker at Nashville's International Country Music Conference. He has also lectured extensively, accompanied by Grammy-nominated Cajun band the Lost Bayou Ramblers, on the origins and evolution of Cajun music. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Brasseaux worked as research associate for the nationally syndicated public radio program American Routes hosted by Nick Spitzer.
- Cajun Breakdown: The Emergence of an American-Made Music (Oxford University Press, 2009)
- Accordions, Fiddles, Two Step and Swing: A Cajun Music Reader (Center for Louisiana Studies, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, 2006). With Kevin S. Fontenot.
- Stir the Pot: The History of Cajun Cuisine (Hippocrene Books, 2005). With Marcelle Bienvenu and Carl A. Brasseaux.
- "Dean Ryan Brasseaux". Yale University. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- http://www.yale.edu/amstud/gradstudents.html; http://etd.lsu.edu/docs/available/etd-11102004-152234/
- http://www.louisianabookfestival.org/lbf2006/Authors/Author_Bio_Page.htm; http://cls.louisiana.edu/new-releases/accordions-fiddles.shtml
- International Country Music Conference - Schedule
- The Lost Bayou Ramblers
- Samuel G. Freedman (September 7, 2005). This Song Goes Out to You, Big Easy. The New York Times; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Routes