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Staging Sassoun

Memory and Music Video in Post-Soviet Armenia

Rik Adriaans

Keywords: Armenian Genocide; cultural heritage; embodiment; media; mediatization; memory; music video; nationalism

This article examines the production of patriotic music videos in post-Soviet Armenia. In particular, it deals with music videos dedicated to the heritage of Sassoun, a mountainous region in presentday Turkey that was famous for its resistance in the era leading up to the Armenian Genocide of 1915. The role of music videos in transmitting embodied memories of the lost homeland to new generations is shown to problematize Paul Connerton’s claim that media saturation in modernity promotes cultural amnesia. A comparison of the Sassoun music videos with media artifacts endorsed in the recent inscription of Armenia’s national epic Daredevils of Sassoun on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity demonstrates how the interplay between mediatization and institutionalization facilitates the recollection of embodied memories.

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