Alternative religious responses to the ethnic crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Faith-based peace and reconciliation

Alternative religious responses to the ethnic crisis in Bosnia-Herzegovina: Faith-based peace and reconciliation

Wednesday, 3 February 2016 - 5:00pm
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Julianne Funk (University of Zurich)
Alice Bloch (St Edmund Hall, Oxford)
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College, Oxford); Adis Merdzanovic (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Adis Merdzanovic (St Antony’s College, Oxford)

SEESOX Seminar Series: South East European realities amid Europe’s multiple crises

South East Europe currently finds itself confronted with numerous external crises, including the Eurozone, the refugee influx, crises in the eastern and southern neighbourhoods, as well as internal political, constitutional or economic. In SEESOX’s Hilary term Seminar Series, we wish to look at how the region has been coping or not coping with these multiple crises and what domestic developments or strategies may either prevent or enable appropriate political responses. The seminar series will address some of the acute problems affecting Europe, as seen especially from a South Eastern European perspective, and combine the thematic (refugee, economic and political crises) with the country specific approaches.

Religion is often accused of intolerance towards other religions and, consequently, religious diversity in a society is assumed to be a cause for crisis, instability, and even armed violence. Yet religious faith also serves as a basis of shared values and a motivator for reconciliation and mutual understanding for many ‘believers’. Using examples from post-war Bosnia and Herzegovina, Julianne Funk (University of Zurich), will explore this dynamic according to her qualitative empirical research, but also using a framework of religions’ four social functions in ethnic conflict (Jonathan Fox). Given our current affairs, this research has notably emphasized the work of Muslim peacemakers in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Julianne Funk is a peace scholar-practitioner focused on the Western Balkans and specializes on Bosnia and Herzegovina. She divides her time between teaching at the University of Zurich (in political science and religious studies) and working for local NGOs in the former Yugoslavia. Currently she is coordinating the project “Trauma, memory and healing in the Balkans and beyond” for TPO Foundation in Sarajevo. Julianne received her PhD and MA (social sciences, peace and conflict studies) from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium, and her BA (theology) from Wheaton College in the US. Her recent research and publications include the themes of lived religion, Bosnian Islam, suživot (mutual life), trauma and healing.

Adis Merdzanovic is a Junior Research Fellow at South East European Studies at Oxford (SEESOX), St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His research focuses on constitutional order in divided post-conflict societies using the perspective of political theory, in particular the theory of consociational democracy. Funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation’s Early Post-Doc Mobility Programme, he is currently pursuing a project dedicated to the challenges of liberalism in the Western Balkans and the region’s European Perspective.

Alice Bloch is a DPhil candidate at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention at the University of Oxford, where she is researching the development of post-conflict youth policy in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. Alice completed her BA in Social and Political Sciences at Cambridge University and her MRes in East European Studies at the School for Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London. Prior to Oxford, she worked as a broadcast journalist and radio producer for the BBC and other outlets.