This is part two of my chat with Matt Dagher-Margosian, a Taiwan-based Lebanese-Armenian American who founded Asia Art Tours, an art and activism-oriented organisation, and is also the host of the highly recommended The Arts of Travel podcast. Click here for part one.
This is one of those episodes that are difficult to describe because the topic is one of those currently ‘frozen’ by the Covid-19 pandemic: travel. I wanted Matt to reflect on what traveling actually means now that most of us cannot do so anymore. How do we differenciate between travelers and migrants? Can travel be used to build solidarity instead of reproducing oppressive power structures?
I’ve found Matt to be a deep thinker, one who takes the time to read about as many places as possible and be able to engage critically with questions surrounding liberatory politics in Asia and beyond. His own experience, I believe, might be able to inform yours and I would be curious as to some of your reflections to this episode.
You can follow the podcast on Twitter @FireTheseTimes.
Patreon is for monthly, PayPal is for one-offs and BuyMeACoffee has both options.
Related readings (more in part one):
- See the world: on the complications of luxury travel (Matt’s Popula article)
- New Bloom Magazine
- Febriana Firdaus’s work on Al Jazeera
- Vicky Osterweil’s work at The New Inquiry
- Edward Onweso Jr’s work on Twitter
- Wendy Liu’s work on Twitter
- Janice Okoomian wrote one of the best scholarly articles about how Armenian-Americans ‘became White’ and how this relates to questions of Feminism.
- This article from Ajam Media Collective is one of the single best essays on what this looked like at an individual level. It talks about one family’s quest to ‘hide’ their Armenian Otherness during a period of White Supremacy in the United States.
- This is a similarly excellent article that looks at what this process looked like for Syrian and Lebanese Americans (more focused on Syrians) by Louise Cainkar and Sarah Gualtieri respectively.
- There is also a full-length book on the subject.
- Useful summary (with the caveat that the framing is a bit too conservative for my taste) about the relation of the Armenian Genocide to the formation of Turkish Nationalism.
- Interesting article about the implications of the 2020 Census for Arab Americans.
- I think Jodi Melamed remains the gold standard for demanding that we choose neither ethnosupremacy nor neoliberal Multiculturalism. Her book “Represent and Destroy” remains one of the most challenging, formative and important academic texts I’ve read for guiding my thinking about race, capital and identity formation.