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March 2018: Armenian Music, Memorial Practices and the Global in the 21st Century

Friday, March 16 | 10am - 5pm

Rackham Graduate School - West Conference Room

From lullabies transmitting genocide memories and post genocide experience in Turkey (Bilal 2013; 2006) to anamnesis, a form of liturgical remembrance of God’s role in human life (Findikyan 2008), and an act of survival in exile (Kerovpyan, 2015), music is constitutive to the Armenian experience worldwide. Both the shared affective participation in the resonance of melodies and rhythms and the tales and stories conveyed in sung musical texts help to create a bond of common experience and sense of belonging within and across Armenian populations spread throughout the globe. 

This workshop situates various genres of Armenian music—liturgical, lullaby, folk, pop, and contemporary—as a site from which to explore central questions for the Armenian experiences in the 21st Century. What ties together diverse Diaspora populations, Anatolia, and the Republic of Armenia? How is a shared Armenian experience conveyed and transmitted? Which institutions and practices sustain the Armenian community? How does music resonate with individuals while simultaneously creating both communal bonds, tensions, and distinctions? In what ways does music tie the past to the present and even help imagine a future? How do we contextualize the ‘traditional’ and the ‘experimental’ in contemporary Armenian music production?

The workshop will be followed by the screening of the film -  "Singing in Exile" (Directed by Turi Finocchiaro and Nathalie Rossetti; 2015) at 6:30 PM
Space 2435, North Quad, 105 S State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.

Saturday, Mar 17, 4 PM
Evening Service and Musical Concert.
St. John Armenian Church, 22001 Northwestern Hwy # 1, Southfield, MI 48075.

Organizers: Hakem Al-Rustom, Alex Manoogian Professor of Modern Armenian History, and Christopher Sheklian, 2017-18 Manoogian Post-doctoral Fellow.


  • Hakem Al-Rustom, University of Michigan
  • Roxana-Maria Aras, University of Michigan
  • Meilu Ho, University of Michigan
  • Aram Kerovpyan, Centre for Armenian Modal Chant Studies of Paris
  • Alyssa Mathias, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Jonathon McCollum, Washington College
  • Christopher Sheklian, University of Michigan

Cosponsored by the Department of Anthropology, Department of History, Department of Near Eastern Studies, and the International Institute.