Complicity and Community: Preserving Multiculturalism in World War II Sarajevo

Tuesday, September 15, 2009
12:00pm - 1:30pm
Room 1510 International Affairs Building

Please join the School of International and Public Affairs, the Harriman Institute, the European Institute and the East Central European Center of Columbia University in welcoming Emily Greble Balic of City College, New York.

How can multicultural societies persist through times of war, extreme nationalism, and ethnic cleansing? This is the central question of this talk, which examines how Sarajevo—a city shared by Muslims, Catholics, Orthodox Serbs, and Jews—retained its multicultural character through the most devastating chapter of twentieth-century European history, the Second World War. Taking on conventional wisdom about the pervasiveness of nationalism and political ideologies in wartime Europe, Balic focuses instead on other kinds of identities that shaped local decision-making during the war. In particular, she examines how religious identity and urban solidarity--or a "city consciousness"--influenced genocidal policies in the town."

Emily Greble Balic is Assistant Professor of History at The City College of New York. A specialist on the modern Balkans, particularly the countries of the former Yugoslavia, her research and teaching focuses on questions of nationalism, civil war and genocide, social transformation in twentieth century Europe, and Islam and the West. She is currently completing a book manuscript on the multicultural city of Sarajevo during the Second World War. Professor Balic received her MA and Ph.D. in East European History from Stanford University in 2007. She received a B.A. in history from the College of William and Mary in 1999. Prior to starting at City College, she held fellowships at the Remarque Institute at New York University and the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. In 2004-2005, she was a Fulbright-Hayes and IREX fellow in Bosnia and Croatia.