Publication Date

July 1997

Journal or Book Title



It clearly takes a certain period to reflect on a singular experience in one's life. In the May 1996 issue of AnthroWatch I reported on my winter visit to Sarajevo and Mostar, the two principle towns in Bosnia. I want to begin to approach an evaluation of this situation through a personal lens. Perhaps for some anthropologists their field experiences have been distanced from war and conflict. But this has not been my experience. Rather my anthropological journeys have been contextualized by major conflicts. I first went to the Balkans in 1953, and researched, principally in Serbia, for my Columbia doctorate. This was then only some eight years after World War II and memories of the conflict were still vivid to the villagers among whom I worked. But conflict was not then the focus on my research. Even if I had wanted to make it so such an approach was impeded by the dictatorial structures in place in the then lito's Yugoslavia. Formal queries on this topic would have also put villagers at risk.

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