Lecture by Sylvia Alajaji: Komitas, Oosti Gookas?: The Post-Ottoman Musical Worlds of the Armenian Diaspora

Fatma Deniz's picture

Dear Colleagues, 

I would like to inform you about an upcoming lecture organized by the Ottoman and Turkish Studies Initiative at NYU (OTS-NYU) on Thursday, October 20, 2022, at 5.00 (EST). This event will be held both in-person at the Kevorkian Center at NYU (255 Sullivan St.) and on zoom. Below you can find the abstract, as well as the link to register for the lecture. 

Lecture: Komitas, Oosti Gookas?: The Post-Ottoman Musical Worlds of the Armenian Diaspora

Speaker: Sylvia Alajaji

Discussant: Eliot Bates

 

Abstract: There is perhaps no name more ubiquitous or discursively powerful in Armenian musical culture than Komitas (1869-1935). Born Soghomon Soghomonyan in the Ottoman city of Kütahya (in what is today Turkey), Komitas has come to embody "Armenia"—or rather, the possibility of Armenia. He has become synonymous with and emblematic not of the homeland bounded by the confines of the nation-state, but a symbolic, imagined homeland. In Komitas, there is a possibility of a wholeness denied by geography and by history—a possibility clung to by the widespread Armenian diaspora. But how easy it would be to stop the story there. For what would happen if one were to poke at the borders of the sonic world that has come to be associated with Komitas and interrogate the sonic alignments these borders facilitate? What would happen if one were to seek out vestiges of the Ottoman world from which he had come? To do so would be to interrogate the very home that has made wholeness possible—to see it for its possibilities and impossibilities, its inclusions and exclusions. For although through Komitas, there is the possibility of an “us,” after all, there can be no “us” without “them.” In this sonically boundaried home, who belongs? Who does not? Where, in the Komitas that has come to mean "Armenia," is Soghomon?

The lecture will be followed by a 30-minute Q&A session.

Link to register: https://nyu.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJclcOqoqT4oHtfF04D2YVyxFGps6sHLWEUg

Contact email: fd2082@nyu.edu

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