• Profile: Dr. Sylvia A. Alajaji
Associate Professor of Music
Music

Biography

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 Lebanon, Palestine, and various other countries in the Middle East.

Education

Ph.D., Musicology, Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester), 2009

Dissertation: “Diasporic Communities and Negotiated Identities: Trauma, Recovery, and the Search for the Armenian Musical Voice.” 
Alfred Mann Dissertation Award Winner

B.M., Piano Performance (Minor in Chemistry), University of Tulsa, 2001
Summa cum laude
Phi Beta Kappa

Research

Music and Popular Culture, Musics of the Middle East, Music in Diaspora, Hybridity and Postcoloniality 

Publications

Exilic Becomings: Music and Collective Identity in the Armenian Diaspora. [forthcoming from Indiana University Press]

2013. “Exilic Becomings: Post-Genocide Armenian Music in Lebanon.” Ethnomusicology 57, no. 2 (Spring/Summer):236-260.

2013. “Performing Self: Between Tradition and Modernity in the West Bank.” Palestinian Music and Song: Expression and Resistance Since 1900. Edited by Moslih Kanaaneh, Stig-Magnus Thorsén, Heather Bursheh, and David A. McDonald. Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press. 

“Traumas of a Past Now Questioned: Music and Post-Genocide Expressions of Identity in the Armenian Diaspora.” Article to be published in forthcoming book on music and trauma (ed. Fred Maus).  *project currently on hold

Book Review: Paroles melodisees: Recits epiques et lamentation chez les Yezidis d'Armenie. Ethnomusicology.  [forthcoming]

Book Review: Stambeli: Music, Trance, and Alterity in Tunisia.  The Journal of Religion in Africa 43, no. 2.

Book Review: Music in the Life of the African Church.  2010.  The Journal of Religion in Africa 40: 225-226.

Book Review: The Art and Music of Radiohead.  2006.  Journal of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections 36, no. 1 (Spring): 73-75.

Book Review: A National Acoustics: Music and Mass Publicity in Weimar and Nazi Germany.  2008.  Journal of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections 38, no. 1: 40-41.

Album Review: The Arev Armenian Folk Ensemble.  2003.  Armenian Forum 3, no. 2 (Summer): 101-102.

Presentations

“‘We’ll Make Our History’: Performing the Past, Producing the Present in the West Bank.”  Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, New Orleans (November 2012).

“Performing Self: Between Tradition and Modernity in the West Bank.”  Paper delivered at conference: Exploring Song and Music Among Palestinians, Jericho (January 2012).

“Maneuvers from the Margins: Female Muslim Rappers of the UK.”  Barnard College (February 2011).

“A Question of Genocide, a Question of Self: Music, Trauma, and Political Identity in the Armenian Diaspora.” Annual Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, Los Angeles (November 2010).

“Situating Self: Music, Trauma, and Identity in the Armenian Diaspora.”  Paper delivered at conference: MACSEM, University of Virginia (March 2010).

“A Question of Home: The Search for the Armenian Musical Voice.”  Paper delivered at conference: "Music and Crisis," Harvard University (March 2007) and “Conversations: Music Scholarship Unbound,” University of Michigan (February 2007).

“Diasporic Communities and Negotiated Identities: Alan Hovhaness and the Recovery of the Armenian Folk Music Idiom.”  Paper delivered at conference: “Music, Performance and Racial Imaginations,” New York University (March 2005).

Course Information

Middle Eastern Music and Culture (MUS 228), Popular Musics and Societies (MUS 226), Music in Cultural Perspective (MUS 229), Music as Political Weapon (FND), Introduction to World Music (MUS 102)