My research examines how political violence disfigures social life in enduring ways. 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 silenced and contentious histories of violence that do not find expression in dominant, state-sanctioned narratives of war. My work is empirically grounded in ethnographic methodology, including qualitative interviews and participant observation.
Retributive Violence in Ethnic Conflicts
My doctoral research explores a silenced 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 siege 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 Bosniak paramilitary forces, militarized criminal gangs, and rogue elements of the Sarajevo police force.
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.
Other Research Experience:
Research assistant to Dr. Parin Dossa, Simon Fraser University, SSHRC project: Social Wounding: Journeying with Canadian Muslims into the World of Palliative Care/End-of-Life, September to December 2017
Research Assistant at the David Lam Centre for International Communication, February to June 2017
Atira Women’s Resource Society: Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA) Program – Student Intern, January to June 2011
The Belgrade Centre for Human Rights – Research Intern, September to December 2009