The Center for Bosnian Studies sponsors college-level, interdisciplinary courses about Bosnia at Fontbonne University and at area high schools having large Bosnian populations. Students participate in the Center’s cultural documentation projects while studying relevant literary, historical, and cultural contexts. Student work, including oral histories, becomes part of the center’s growing archive of primary sources. Through innovative pedagogy, these courses foster trans-cultural and trans-generational dialogue while disseminating understanding of Bosnia, the Bosnian genocide, and the Bosnian diaspora.
Fontbonne University’s undergraduate course on Bosnia was first taught in 2007, when student work became part of the multi-media exhibit Prijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide. The course was first taught at Affton High School as a dual-credit course in 2013 and more recently at Oakville High School and Mehlville High School. Over the years, the course has been updated to reflect recent history, such as trial proceedings at the Hague, and the increased availability of books, films, and other materials. A sample syllabus is available below.
This course is designed to improve students' understanding of the Bosnian war, genocide, and immigration to St. Louis over the last three decades. It will focus on how the construction of extreme nationalist narratives, predicated on fear and hate of the other, created the conditions for the violent destruction of a multicultural society. A central component of the course will be to understand the consequences of these events, by studying the development of collective memory of the war and the implications for a post-war identity shaped by displacement and resettlement.
Students will receive hands-on research experience engaging with Fontbonne's extensive archives on the Bosnian war, as well as through interviews and interaction with the large Bosnian community in St. Louis. Follow-up internships with the CBS will be available in the spring.