Armenian American experiences and subjectivities have been underrepresented in the discipline of anthropology. Further, Armenian Americans have been called “demographic ghosts” whose distinctions are imperceptible in a variety of legal, political domains. Yet, the Armenian American community in the Los Angeles area has been called the fiercest, the most vocal perhaps of the diaspora, in the “struggle for justice” through which they demand recognition of genocide.
From art galleries and coffee shops to street protests and a hunger strike, Melissa’s research provides an ethnographic perspective that speaks to ethical and theoretical questions of visibility, power, and resilience. In 2011, Melissa was honored to participate in a NEH Summer Institute at Columbia University, rethinking the ways that “America Engages Eurasia.” She recently published two poems in Anthropology and Humanism.