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Larisa Kurtović - Fool’s Errand: The Ethics and Pragmatics of Political Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina - CES

341 Eggers Hall

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Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, Center for European Studies present:

Larisa Kurtović, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, University of Ottawa

Fool’s Errand: The Ethics and Pragmatics of Political Activism in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina

How do people become political activists when historical experience destroys their faith in transformative capacities of all political action?  Drawing on long-term fieldwork in Bosnia-Herzegovina, this talk explores the challenges faced by a new generation of political activists in the capital city, who have been struggling to respond to the multifaceted political paralysis that followed the end of the war. Focusing on “Citizen Action,” a multigenerational, multiethnic activist organization that grew out of the 2008 protests for governmental accountability, I show how Bosnian activists came to understand their own efforts as a form of necessary foolishness, “a run on the windmills” which was bound to fail and yet also formed a type of an ethical practice connected to the very possibility of imagining the future. In merging ethics and pragmatics, in this talk I call for a careful, ethnographically and historically sensitive rereading of the figure of political activist.

Larisa Kurtović is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at University of Ottawa. She specializes in political anthropology, postsocialist studies and contemporary Balkans. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript entitled Future as Predicament: Political Action after Catastrophe. She also writes on cultural politics, nationalism, political patronage and ethnology in the Balkans.

Lunch will be served.

For information on accessibility, or to request accommodation, please contact Marc Albert 315-443-9248.

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