The current situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina has provided me with a unique opportunity to write my thesis on a topic that is rapidly changing; however, the continuous developments also make the writing process more challenging. Since the end of the Bosnian War in 1995, the government has embezzled much of the foreign aid meant to reconstruct the country ravaged by a civil war further impeding economic and civic development. High unemployment due to government mismanagement has brought together the multiethnic population of Bosnia (comprised of three major ethnicities: Croat Catholics, Bosniak Muslims, and East Orthodox Serbs), enemies in combat less than twenty years ago, out to the streets together to protest a government that has failed people of all ethnicities equally.
The case of Bosnia provides me with an excellent opportunity to utilize the various aspects of my international studies major. My background in anthropology, history, and political science have helped me immensely in studying the region. For example, I am well-equipped to understand and trace the sociopolitical and historical roots of the both ethnic and multiethnic/non-nationalist movements in the country today, including the protests currently taking place throughout the country. In addition, I am able to examine the ways in which ethnic group leaders and radical politicians use their own unique interpretations of history to gain more votes and further entrench the separations between the country’s major ethnic groups through examining their speeches and legislation aimed at marginalizing other ethnicities.
My international studies background has also helped me to develop new theories on how and why ethnic groups in Bosnia are more exclusive than inclusive and nationalistic than their counterparts in other countries of the former Yugoslavia. Through the course of my research in the past months, I have also developed many more research questions I hope to pursue in my studies in the region after I graduate.
With the first draft of my thesis due in just over one month, I will be and have been monitoring the situation daily via various Bosnian and Balkan news agencies and from my Bosnian activist friends on Facebook as the situation progresses. Already much of my findings on ethnonationalism in the country have been shattered by protests and new civil unity among the population of Bosnia. By the time I have to submit my thesis, it could be a very different paper, one where multiethnic harmony is not merely a hope for the future of Bosnia, but a reality.