Music and the Armenian Diaspora: Searching for Home in Exile

Department: Armenian Studies

Date and Time: January 22, 2020 | 6:30 PM-8:30 PM

Event Location: HG 1030

Event Details

The Vahe & Armine Meghrouni Lecture Series 


Music and the Armenian Diaspora: Searching for Home in Exile

Sylvia Alajaji
Associate Professor of Music, Department Chair of Music
Franklin and Marshall College

What is Armenian music? How do we articulate its borders? Inherent in this question is, of course, a discourse on Armenianness, on the limits of Self, and the limits of belonging. Despite centuries of dispersion and displacement, there has remained, in the Armenian diaspora, a sense of Armenian-ness—a sense, in other words, of being Armenian. This talk will serve as a meditation on what that sense of being has looked like across time and space, as seen through the lens of pivotal musical works from the post-genocide diaspora--works that simultaneously shape, challenge, and upend notions and understandings of diasporic identity.
Professor Alajaji received her Ph.D. in Musicology from the University of Rochester's Eastman School of Music. She specializes in the music of the Middle East and is particularly interested in the intersections of music, popular culture, and politics in the West Bank and in the Armenian diaspora in Beirut. Her research is based on extensive fieldwork conducted throughout the Middle East and United States.