3/9 Melissa Bilal on Memory of Loss: Lullabies and Stories from Armenian Women in Istanbul

Michael Zank's picture
March 9, 2021 to April 14, 2021
Massachusetts, United States
Subject Fields: 
European History / Studies, Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Jewish History / Studies, Women's & Gender History / Studies, Music and Music History

Dear Colleagues:

The Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University is proud to announce the speakers for the virtual lecture series: Encounters with Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies. “Politics of Genocide” is the theme of this year’s series, and it will feature Melissa Bilal (UCLA), David Tollerton (University of Exeter) and Mark Geraghty (University College London). 

Coming right up, the first speaker, on Tuesday, March 9th at 7pm, is Melissa Bilal, a historical anthropologist who uses ethnomusicology as her len. Her talk is titled “Voicing and Silencing the Memory of Loss: Lullabies and Stories from Armenian Women in Istanbul.” Dr. Bilal will illustrate the capacity of lullabies sung by Armenian women in Istanbul to produce knowledge, functioning as a survival strategy under the regime of denial following the 1915 Armenian Genocide. She will argue that this knowledge is intimate and affective, bodily and instantaneous. It is a way of knowing “otherwise” that has the potential to form alternative ways to relate to history. Professor Roberta Micallef from Boston University's Department of World Languages and Literature will serve as moderator and respondent.

The Encounters series invites scholars to share their latest research to facilitate live conversations across disciplines and broaden the understanding of genocidal and violent events in modern and contemporary politics. The series is curated by Prof. Nancy Harrowitz and Sultan Doughan, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies. 

Mark your calendar for these exciting talks and help spread the word by sharing this message with your friends, neighbors, colleagues and students. Registration is open now, reserve your place today.


Encounters with Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies 
Melissa Bilal on “Voicing and Silencing the Memory of Loss: 
Lullabies and Stories from Armenian Women in Istanbul”

Tuesday, March 9th 
7-8:15pm on Zoom
Register Now
About the Speaker:
Melissa Bilal is a social anthropologist and historian who specializes in music studies. She is currently Distinguished Research Fellow at UCLA Center for Near East Studies and Lecturer in the Department of Ethnomusicology. She is a graduate of the University of Chicago and Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.  
About the Moderator/Respondent:

Roberta Micallef’s area of expertise is 19th and 20th century Ottoman and Turkish literature. Her current research interest is women's "life writing." Most recently she has worked on translations of women's writing and contributed chapters to volumes on travel writing. She is Professor of the Practice in Middle Eastern Literatures and Coordinator of the Turkish Language Program for BU's World Languages and Literature Department. 
Register for Zoom link: 

Upcoming Encounters Talks
Holocaust Memory and Britain’s Religious-Secular Landscape
Speaker: David Tollerton

Wednesday March 24, 2021 
4 - 5:15 PM
More Information and Registration

New Rwanda’s Campaign Against “Genocide Ideology”
Speaker: Mark Geraghty

Wednesday April 14, 2021 
4 - 5:15 PM
More Information and Registration
We hope you can join in these important conversations about the politics of genocide. Please register for the talk by Melissa Bilal on Tuesday, 3/9; this will register you for all of the talks in the series. These talks are free and open to the public. Please contact ewcjs@bu.edu for more information about the talk or the series. You can also ask questions and like and share this event on Facebook.


Faculty and Staff of the Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Studies Program

and the Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University


Contact Info: 

Elie Wiesel Center for Jewish Studies at Boston University
147 Bay State Rd. Boston, MA 02215

Michael Zank, Director
Ingrid Anderson, Associate Director

Contact Email: