Larisa Kurtović is a political anthropologist who has conducted research on postwar reconstruction, collective memory and activist politics in Bosnia-Herzegovina for over a decade. She holds a PhD in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to University of Ottawa in 2015, she was a postdoctoral fellow in the Mellon-Sawyer seminar on “Political Will” at Cornell University.
Larisa’s research critically examines the political and social consequences of Bosnia’s twenty-three-year long and internationally-brokered peace, which put an end to the infamous 1992-1995 war, but left the country ethnically and geospatially divided. Her book manuscript, entitled Future as Predicament: Bosnia-Herzegovina and Political Action After Catastrophe, ethnographically documents the struggle of Bosnian activists and ordinary citizens to reimagine political possibilities and the future itself in the context marked by a sense of profound skepticism about the transformative possibilities of political action at large. She has published articles and book chapters on protest and activist politics, ethnic nationalism and political clientelism, international democracy promotion, cultural politics and the refugee experience. .
Larisa has several new research projects, which focus on political effects of postwar privatization, deindustrialization and catastrophic unemployment in postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina. Together with Andrew Gilbert at McMaster University, she is working on a graphic ethnography about a struggle of the workers of the “Dita” detergent factory in the city of Tuzla to save their factory from bankruptcy. This project forms part of a much larger research agenda, entitled, Fruits of War, which examines mutual entanglement of Bosnia’s postwar economic collapse, affective histories of socialist labor and shifting forms of popular political engagement. Last but not least, Larisa is currently developing a new project on water rights and the politics of infrastructure in postwar Sarajevo, tentatively titled “Watersheds: Postsocialist Infrastructure and the Politics of Water Supply in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina.”
At University of Ottawa, Larisa teaches courses undergraduate and graduate courses in political anthropology, activist politics, humanitarian intervention and ethnographic writing.