In the most recent case of Balkan “archive fever,” Croatian Parliament discussed whether or not to unseal the archives as a step towards “overcoming the national divide.” Aside from being a populist move, the underlying assumption is clear: archival records are transparent, mirroring the truth and reality. Around the same time, another discussion of Bosnian post-WWII archives took place, in which Max Bergholz shared his experience in navigating archives (and basements) in search for highly sensitive material. Between lustration and politicized, bureaucratized, or outright neglected archival practices, however, there is little or no discussion on what archives mean for historians and public, how they change, and what narratives they tell.
Any student that has embarked upon fieldwork in Bosnia and Herzegovina has probably faced the question of how to reconcile the objectives of his or her research project and the expectations and needs of his or her respondents. Fieldwork in Bosnia is not only challenging due to the dissonance of opinions depending on which ethno-national side you talk to, but also because the war trauma and the tortuous post-war development have left behind a disillusioned and disengaged people who have become suspicious of foreigners
by David Brown 31.05.2016 This contribution aims to reflect briefly on some of the questions and challenges that arise when researchers prepare for ethnographic field-research (Hammersley and Atkinson 2007). My general research focuses on the intersection(s) of visual culture, protest, and football fans. My field research (in Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina) still lies ahead, and... Continue Reading →