This is a conversation with Karena Avedissian and Anna, and a collaboration with their podcast Obscuristan.
We spoke about so many things I actually don’t yet know what the episode title will be. The main thread was about Armenian-ness and how complicated of an identity it is due to the old and transnational history of Armenians. Some have ancestry in the Ottoman empire and therefore feel closer to the Levant, especially after the genocide which also exiled so many to my part of the world. Others lived under the Russian empire and then the USSR. There are of course those who moved to Europe and North America and elsewhere as well.
Karena is of Armenian-Iranian origins and grew up in the US, but lives in Armenia. Anna is from Artsakh and Armenia and is currently in the US. So we inevitably had to also talk about Armenian proximity to Whiteness in the US and why it’s important to understand it.
We brought up Ukraine a lot as well as Russia’s full-scale invasion last year prompted them to launch their podcast which partly seeks to decolonize Russian history and imperialism. We also brought up Azerbaijan’s ongoing violence against Armenians in Artsakh/Nagorno-Karabakh.
Also Lebanon as Beirut has a special place in Armenian history, something I didn’t really know until I myself visited Armenia.
Also Gilmore Girls, coz why not.
Where to listen
The conversation is available on any podcast app such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, Breaker, Amazon Music, Audible, Stitcher, Radio Public, Pocket Casts, Castro and RSS. Just type in ‘The Fire These Times’ and you can subscribe directly there.
It is also on YouTube. At the moment the YouTube page is not being updated but it will be in the near future.
Mentions and Recommendations:
- The Politics of Exile by Elizabeth Dauphinee
- The Trauma of Caste: A Dalit Feminist Meditation on Survivorship, Healing, and Abolition by Thenmozhi Soundararajan (who will be a guest soon as well!)
- Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis
How to Support:
The Fire These Times is independent. Since March 2020, I’ve produced weekly episodes averaging anywhere from 60 to 110 minutes.
With a small amounted donated monthly or yearly, you can help expand this project into video essays, public panels, newsletters and more. I also wish to release episodes twice a week. Your support can be for as little as $2 or $5 a month or $20 or $50 a year, which is what most people contribute.
The best way to do so is through Patreon, which will also give you early access to audio episodes, exclusive video episodes, merchandise, monthly hangouts, access to the upcoming book club and more. But there are also options through BuyMeACoffee.com, PayPal or Ko-fi.com.
If you can’t support financially, you can still help get more listeners to this podcast by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, Podchaser, Podcast Addict or wherever you listen to podcasts.
How to Follow to Get Updates:
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Host: Joey Ayoub
Producer: Joey Ayoub
Music: Rap and Revenge
Main theme design: Wenyi Geng
Sound editor: Ibrahim Youssef
Episode design: Joey Ayoub
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