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Discourse and Power in a Postwar European Periphery: The Case of Bosnia and Herzegovina

A public lecture by Danijela Majstorovic, UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies Fulbright Fellow and Associate Professor of Linguistics and Cultural Studies, University of Banja Luka, Bosnia.

In 2013, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), a postwar and post-socialist country, may geographically claim to be in Europe, but politically, the EU accession has never been further away. Corruption, poverty, and ethnic tensions continue to be the brewing issues even twenty years since the 1992-1995 war, as a point of rupture connecting the contested past and an uncertain future.  Ever since, BiH has been given an unprecedented amount of aid and it has been a much studied subject matter mostly for Western academics, while the local knowledge production (and education) was rather poor due to ideological reasons, lack of standard procedures and methodologies, little access to Western journals and restricted mobility of scholars and students. Despite all this, Bosnia still may be a researcher's El Dorado but remains the European dark side and a semi-periphery with little chance to move forward.
The goal of this presentation is to give an overview of the situation today by looking into a number of modest interdisciplinary social research projects done in the country by local scholars. After such a complex context has been explained, we might be able to locate and explain some of the most troublesome issues that keep BiH's stalemate. Looking into dominant discourses and power both in the private and public sphere may reveal why BiH remains a periphery and what consequences it has for ethnic/national and gender identities in the postwar space and time.

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