The fall of the Soviet Union has transformed musical culture in Armenia. Rabiz, an underground phenomenon in Soviet times, has become a soundtrack for pro-government rallies. For opposition-minded intelligentsia and young activists, it can be a symbol of failed transition and moral corruption, while folk dance is often believed to empower the active, engaged and patriotic citizen. The lecture examines the role of music and dance in shaping new forms of identity and citizenship by discussing: 1.) the militant-patriotic youth culture of the Karin dance network, 2.) the revival of pre-genocide folklore in Sassoun-themed music videos, and 3.) the use of rabiz music in mobilizations in support of the controversial oligarch Samvel Aleksanyan.
Rik Adriaans is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He has been a visiting researcher at UCLA and a teaching fellow at Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca. Currently writing his PhD dissertation on the Armenian diaspora of Los Angeles, his research interests include the anthropology of music, media and diaspora studies. His publications include an article on music video as a means of reviving pre-genocide Armenian culture in Social Analysis and a study of the role of music performances in Armenian civic activism forthcoming in Caucasus Survey.
Admission: £5 to include wine reception