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

Key Features

"The best discussions of my entire undergraduate career occurred during the SIT Balkans courses."

—Program alum

Examine themes and theories of conflict analysis and conflict transformation with a focus on social memory studies, transitional justice, and international intervention.

Republic Square, Belgrade

Discover Belgrade (program base)
The program is based in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, the country’s cultural, political, and economic center. Capital of the former Yugoslavia, Belgrade remains the largest metropolitan city in southeast Europe and is home to numerous activist groups and human rights organizations. A vibrant and dynamic city, Belgrade is very important to the study of post-conflict transformation in the Balkans.

While in Belgrade, students will live with host families and attend classes at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University. Students will have the chance to explore the city's cultural centers, museums, and, markets while uncovering the city's socialist past. 

Explore processes of post-war transformation
Through the program's thematic seminars students examine processes of post-war change. Topics of study include:

  • The "making and breaking" of Yugoslavia 
  • Serbia in the 1990s: International sanctions and the NATO bombing
  • Serbia after Milosevic
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) after Dayton
  • Kosovo: a look from Serbia and from Kosovo
  • Peace and conflict: theory and practice in the Balkans

Learn more about the program’s coursework.

Students engage with academics from institutions such as the University of Belgrade, Serbia; the University of Prishtina, Kosovo; the University of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; and the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University, Serbia.

Students also meet with representatives from leading NGOs such as The Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Serbia, Kosovo, and BiH; the Humanitarian Law Center, Serbia; Levizja FOL, Kosovo; and The International Commission on Missing Persons, BiH.

Working in groups with local students

Take advantage of interactive workshops
Students engage in interactive workshops as part of the program's thematic seminar. Possible themes and sites include:

Acquire critical field studies skills
Through the Research Methods and Ethics course, students learn a variety of methodologies that prepare them to undertake primary research on critical issues and topics relating to peace and conflict studies. Students develop research skills and approaches that are used for their Independent Study Project. Specific focus is placed on themes such as Orientalism and Balkanism as well as the ethical concerns related to conducting research in post-conflict societies.

Independent Study Project
Students spend the last four weeks of the program focused on an Independent Study Project (ISP) in Serbia, Bosnia, or Kosovo. Students may focus on issues related to post-conflict transformation, memory studies, genocide studies, or human rights, applying the concepts and skills learned in the Research Methods and Ethics course and the thematic seminars. Sample ISP topic areas include:

  • Islam in Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Roma narratives of discrimination, in the city of Nis, Serbia
  • The effect of Kosovo's declaration of independence on Serbian political parties
  • Youth perceptions of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in Serbia and Croatia
  • Human rights activism in Serbia and LGBT issues
  • Dealing with the past
  • Street art and street activism in Belgrade
  • Yugonostalgia in Belgrade and Sarajevo

Possible Community Volunteer Experiences as part of the ISP
During the ISP period, students may wish to pursue community volunteer experiences that allow them to take a more active role in the issues they are researching. Sample community volunteer experience sites include: the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network in Belgrade, the Dah Theatre in Belgrade, the Youth Initiative for Human Rights in Sarajevo, and the Center for Peacebuilding in Sanski Most.  These opportunities are varied. Students assume an assorted set of responsibilities according to their skills, interests, and needs.

Students frequently use their ISPs as a jumping-off point for more advanced research for their senior thesis, Fulbright and Rhodes scholarship applications, or graduate school work.

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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