I am a researcher who works on violence, security, nationalism, victimhood, and the civilian experience of war, with a regional focus on the former Yugoslavia.

I recently defended my PhD dissertation in Anthropology at Simon Fraser University. I completed my MA in Sociology at York University, and my BA (with Distinction) in International Studies at Simon Fraser University, with a specialization in International Security and Conflict.

I am currently serving my first term as Editorial Assistant for American Ethnologist, and my second term as Editorial Assistant for Anthropologica. I am also a host for New Books in Eastern European Studies.




My research examines how political violence disfigures social life in enduring ways. My work is empirically grounded in ethnographic methodology, including qualitative interviews and participant observation.

Retributive Violence in Ethnic Conflicts:

In my doctoral research, I focus on a segment of society that is rendered invisible in most accounts of war: victims on the side of the perpetrator. Through this focus, I unearth a silenced and contentious history of retributive violence that took place inside the 1992 to 1995 siege of Sarajevo, when the city was held under attack by Bosnian Serb forces.

The experiences of Serbs inside the besieged city have received virtually no academic attention, yet they contain vital insights into the logic of ethnicization in wartime, as retributive violence against ethnic collectives becomes not only thinkable, but permissible. Inside the siege, Serbs came to be associated with the ethnic aggressor, and faced violent retribution at the hands of paramilitary, military, and civilian actors. Based on one year of fieldwork, I provide an account of this silenced history from the perspective of Serb women, and I track its ongoing legacy in the post-war period. I ask, what is at stake for post-conflict societies when recognition is withheld from certain classes of victims? How do unacknowledged injuries affect the micro-dynamics of coexistence? What are the political consequences of bearing a violent past in silence? I argue that the silencing of retributive crimes fuels a clandestine ethno-nationalism. Excluded from the dominant narrative, Serb women turn to divisive ethno-nationalist politics that entrench divisions between ethnic groups, and erode the authority of the post-war state.

The Civilian-Combatant Nexus in Civil War Violence:

My new research project explores the civilian-combatant nexus in the context of civil war violence. Despite the large-scale global shift from inter-state wars to civil wars, our understanding of the civilian experience of war has remained moored in frameworks and concepts inherited from the era of inter-state warfare. Chief among these is the civilian/combatant dichotomy. This dichotomy fails to capture the novel, localized dangers introduced by civil warfare, and the variety of complex roles that civilians occupy inside conflict zones. Whereas this dichotomy characterizes civilians collectively as passive victims who are disengaged from the production of violence, civilians can also act as indirect perpetrators, covertly enabling armed groups to target other civilians via clandestine channels such as denunciation. This neglected dimension of civil war has critical implications for civilian protection globally, raising an urgent need to uncover local pathways of violence that are not currently recognized by civilian protection mechanisms.

My new line of research aims to advance our understanding of the civilian-combatant nexus in the context of civil wars in order to better grasp the localized dynamics of this rising form of warfare, and so better protect the people who suffer because of it. My research takes the form of a political ethnography of denunciation, tracking this phenomenon as it occurred on both sides of the front lines of the 1992–1995 siege of Sarajevo.

Other Research Experience:

David Lam Centre for International Communication – Research assistant, 2017

Atira Women’s Resource Society – Intern, 2011

The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights – Research Intern, 2009





Peer-Reviewed Articles

Jelena Golubović. 2020. “‘To Me, You Are Not a Serb’: Ethnicity, Ambiguity, and Anxiety in Post-War Sarajevo.” Ethnicities 20 (3): 544-563.

Jelena Golubović. 2019. “‘One Day I Will Tell This to My Daughter’: Serb Women, Silence, and the Politics of Victimhood in Sarajevo.” Anthropological Quarterly 92 (4): 1173-1199.

        • Honourable Mention, Outstanding Published Article Award, American Sociological Association section on Peace, War, and Social Conflict, 2020.

Parin Dossa & Jelena Golubović. 2019. “Reimagining Home in the Wake of Displacement.” Studies in Social Justice 13 (1): 171-186.

Jelena Golubović. 2017. “Belgrade’s First Post-Yugoslav Generation in the Contested Space of Europe: The Legacy of the 1990s.” Zeitgeschichte 1 (17): 33-48.

Jelena Golubović. 2015. “The Abnormalcy of Everyday Life: Belgrade Youth and the Legacy of the 1990s in the Context of European Union Expansion.” Contingent Horizons 2 (1): 69-88.

Jelena Golubović. 2011. “The Misrepresentation of Refugees: Effects on Protracted Refugee Situations.” Undercurrent Journal 8 (1): 68-75.


Parin Dossa & Jelena Golubović. 2018. “Community-Based Ethnography.” International Encyclopedia of Anthropology, edited by Hilary Callan, 1040-1046. John Wiley & Sons.

Popular Media

Jelena Golubović. 2020. “Arms Trade, Pandemic Combine to Reveal the Human Costs of War in Yemen.Ottawa Citizen. A6. Opinions Section. 4 May 2020.

Work in Progress (Policy Brief)

Jelena Golubović and Sina Fazelpour. “Predicting and Preventing Armed Conflict: The Future of AI in Canadian Peacekeeping.” Selected as 1 of 10 winners of the 2020 Global Affairs Canada / SSHRC International Policy Ideas Challenge.




Course Instructor:

Introduction to Social Research
Simon Fraser University, Fall 2020

The Ethnography of Politics
Simon Fraser University, Spring 2020

Contemporary Ethnography
Simon Fraser University, Fall 2018

Teaching Assistant:

Ethnography and Qualitative Methods
Simon Fraser University, Spring 2019

Anthropology and Contemporary Life
Simon Fraser University, Spring 2016

Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Simon Fraser University, Fall 2015 

Teaching Training:

Certificate in University Teaching and Learning (120 hours), Simon Fraser University Teaching and Learning Centre, 2017

Instructional Skills Workshop (24 hours), Simon Fraser University Teaching and Learning Centre, 2016


Contact & CV


golubovic cv – october 2020_

Email address:

Mailing address:
Jelena Golubović
Simon Fraser University
Department of Sociology and Anthropology
8888 University Drive, AQ 5054
Burnaby BC, Canada, V5A 1S6