Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans


The interdisciplinary coursework in the Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans program focuses on post-conflict and post-socialist transformation in the Balkans since the 1990s. Students examine changes in areas such as politics, civil society, identity, and social memory studies, through participation in a variety of research and cultural activities, classroom discussions, and interactions with academics, activists, and host families. Students also take a Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian language course. During the final month of the semester, students leverage their field study experience and research skills to complete an Independent Study Project.

The Serbia, Bosnia, and Kosovo: Peace and Conflict Studies in the Balkans program offers the following courses. These course descriptions can be useful for students, faculty, and study abroad offices in assessing credit transfer. Learn more about credit transfer.

The following syllabi are either from a recent session of this program or for an upcoming session. Because courses develop and change over time to take advantage of dynamic learning opportunities, actual course content will vary from term to term.

The Breakup of Yugoslavia and the Wars of the 1990s - syllabus (PDF)
(PEAC 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
With the end of the Cold War and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, changes in Europe raised hopes for social change and a better future. As Eastern Europe entered its post-communist transition to democracy and open markets, socialist Yugoslavia began descending toward its dissolution.  The breakup of Yugoslavia and the escalation of violent conflicts and wars in the region was a process that lasted for a number of years. This course will provide students with the historical context and background to the breakup of Yugoslavia. It will introduce students to the first kingdom of Yugoslavs, followed by the creation of the Socialist Federalist Republic of Yugoslavia after World War II. The course will discuss the debates among scholars as for the reasons for the breakup of the country and will introduce students to a framework for understanding the conflicts of the 1990s, the rise of ethno-nationalism, and the transition from socialism that overlapped with processes of war and conflict. The course will also introduce students to the theoretical frameworks to study the breakup of Yugoslavia and the new successor states that were created during its dissolution.

Peace and Conflict Studies in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Kosovo - syllabus (PDF)
(PEAC 3005 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
After 1991, as Yugoslavia began to disintegrate, new states emerged alongside one another, each with its own, new political structures; each faced  a different set of challenges and  realities.  This course will focus on some of these changes and challenges in three of the successor states: Serbia, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.  In each of these cases, the course will examine the transition in the 1990s as related to the wars followed by an analysis of the post-Yugoslav post-war challenges.  Throughout each of the case studies, students will focus on the following three main lenses of investigation: memory studies; conflict transformation/transitional justice; and international intervention.

Intensive Language Study: Serbian I- syllabus(PDF)
(SERB 1000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Serbian II - syllabus (PDF)
(SERB 2000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Intensive Language Study: Serbian III - syllabus (PDF)
(SERB 3000 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
Emphasis on speaking and comprehension skills through classroom and field instruction. Students are also introduced to the Cyrillic script. Students are placed in beginning or intermediate classes based on in-country evaluation, including oral proficiency testing.
Note: Since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, the language Serbo-Croatian has been referred to as Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian. In this program, students will learn the language as well as its political and social role in the region, as related to the peace and conflict studies theme of the program.

Research Methods and Ethics - syllabus (PDF)
(ANTH 3500 / 3 credits / 45 class hours)
The Research Methods seminar provides theoretical, conceptual, and practical tools for conducting field research in the Balkans.  In particular, the course provides the means to identify and carry out an independent four-week, field-based research topic. Emphasis is placed on grappling methodological and ethical challenges in learning and researching issues related to peace and conflict studies in this part of the world.  The seminar prepares students to record, interpret, and analyze information from primary sources developing students’ awareness to cultural differences and their own positionality.

Independent Study Project- syllabus (PDF)
(ISPR 3000 / 4 credits / 120 class hours)
Conducted in an approved location appropriate to the project in Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), or Kosovo. Sample topic areas: feminist approaches to dealing with the past in post-Milosevic Serbia; Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina; language, religion, and politics in the Republika Srpska; young Serbian writers and the politics of representation; Islamic identity of Albanians in Kosovo; Roma narratives of continuous discrimination and perspectives on identity, marginalization, and assimilation in Serbia; the influence of displacement on the identities of Sarajevo’s young returnees.

During the ISP period, students may have the opportunity to pursue internships that allow them to take a more active role in the issues they are researching. Sample internships: Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) or Dah Theatre in Belgrade; Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most; Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia, Kosovo or Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Browse this program's Independent Study Projects/Undergraduate Research

Costs Dates

Credits: 16

Duration: 15 weeks

Program Base: Belgrade

Language Study: Serbian/Bosnian/Croatian

Prerequisites: None


View Student Evaluations for this program:

About the Evaluations (PDF)

Fall 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Spring 2013 Evaluations (PDF)
Fall 2012 Evaluations (PDF)

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