Monday, February 19, 2018
St. Louis Bosnians

Being Bosnian: Identities after the War

A series of presentations and discussions co-hosted by the Bosnia Memory Project and the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, 2013

Fontbonne University

6800 Wydown Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63105


  • Dr. Esad Boskailo, co-author of Wounded I am More Awake: Finding Meaning after Terror
  • Dr. Amila Buturovic, author of Stone Speakers: Medieval Tombs, Landscape, and Nationhood in the Poetry of Mak Dizdar
  • Aleksandar Hemon, author of The Book of My Lives and other books
  • Patrick McCarthy, author of After the Fall: Srebrenica Survivors in St. Louis

Twenty-one years—a generation—after the start of the war and genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the questions surrounding Bosnian cultural and national identities remain unresolved –especially in diaspora communities around the world, where older Bosnians bear the memories of trauma and younger Bosnians live separated from their heritage.

Please join us for two days of presentations and discussions as we collectively address the complex questions of Bosnian identities as they pertain to Bosnia-Herzegovina and to the Bosnian diaspora.  This symposium represents a unique opportunity for open exchange with writers and scholars who have shaped current conversations about Bosnian identities.

This event is free and open to the public.  Due to limited seating, advance notice of attendance is strongly encouraged. Reservation requests can be sent by e-mail ( or by phone message (314-889-4553).

Books will be made available for purchase at the symposium by Left Bank Books, an independent bookstore in St. Louis.

Hotel accommodations can be made at the nearby Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel for a special symposium rate of $104.00 (plus tax) with free parking and internet access.  Call 888-337-1395 and mention the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University.  Reservations must be made by March 22, 2013 to receive the conference rate and waiver of charges for internet access and parking.

This symposium is made possible through the generous support of the Fontbonne Community Connection and the Missouri Humanities Council.  Additional support is provided by the Fontbonne University Honors Program. 

For more information, contact Dr. Ben Moore at 314-889-4553 or

Friday, April 12

4:00 p.m.:            Welcome by Dr. Benjamin Moore, Director of the Bosnia Memory Project at Fontbonne University.

4:15 p.m.:              Bosnia-Herzegovina at Twenty-one: Recovering Pluralism.  A roundtable discussion featuring Dr. Esad Boskailo, Dr. Amila Buturovic, and Aleksandar Hemon; moderated by Patrick McCarthy.

5:00 p.m.:              Open reception.  Public invited.  Refreshments will be served.

7:00 p.m.:              Reading/presentation by Aleksandar Hemon.  Discussion to follow.  (This event will be the St. Louis launch of The Book of My Lives, which will be released on March 19, 2013.)

Saturday, April 13

11:00 a.m.:            The Bosnian Diaspora at Twenty-One: Narratives, Memories, Identities.  A roundtable discussion featuring Dr. Esad Boskailo, Dr. Amila Buturovic, and Aleksandar Hemon; moderated by Patrick McCarthy.

1:00 p.m.:              Break for lunch.

3:00 p.m.:              Reading/presentation by Dr. Amila Buturovic.  Discussion to follow.

5:00 p.m.:              Informal conversation and networking.  Public invited.  Light refreshments will be served.

6:00 p.m.:              Reading/presentation by Dr. Esad Boskailo, author of Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning after Terror(Vanderbilt University Press, 2012).

Dr. Esad Boskailo is a survivor of six concentration camps in Bosnia-Herzegovina and co-author with Julia Lieblich of Wounded I Am More Awake: Finding Meaning after Terror (Vanderbilt University Press, 2012).  Linking Boskailo’s experiences during the Bosnian genocide with his recent practice of psychiatry in the United States, Wounded I am More Awake “raises questions for healers, survivors, and readers striving to understand the reality of war and the aftermath of terror” and offers “powerful new lessons for healing in an age of genocide.” The Chicago Tribune calls the book “a clear-eyed gem of a memoir with a message far beyond one man’s experience. . . . Boskailo’s courage and empathy help us imagine how it is possible to transcend the worst sufferings one human can impose on another.”  Esad Boskailo is a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and Associate Director of Psychiatric Residency Training at the Maricopa Integrated Health System.

Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Dr. Amila Buturovic is Associate Professor of Religious Studies and Humanities at York University in Toronto.  She has also held visiting appointments at Haverford College and the University of Toronto.  A specialist in Islamic studies with interests in the nature of collective memory, Dr. Buturovic is author of Stone Speakers: Medieval Tombs, Landscape, and Nationhood in the Poetry of Mak Dizdar (Macmillan, 2002).  Stone Speakers has earned praise as “a brilliant portrait of a great poet, a moving exploration of Bosnian culture, and a multi-disciplinary illumination of issues of individual and group identity.”  The book is “superb,” writes poet and scholar Ammiel Alcalay; it “promises to be relevant far beyond the scope of its purported field.”  Buturovic is also author of Osmanli Doneminde Balkan Kadinlar (Bilgi University Press, 2009) and co-editor, with Irvin Cemil Schick, of Women in the Ottoman Balkans: Gender, Culture and History (Tauris: 2007).  In 2012, Buturovic edited a special issue of the Canadian literary journal Descant, titled “Bosnia-Herzegovina: Between Loss and Recovery.”

Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Aleksandar Hemon is an award winning Bosnian-American fiction writer who has been called by the New York Times “an extraordinary writer: one who seems not simply gifted but necessary.”  Hemon’s first volume of nonfiction, The Book of My Lives (Farrar, Straus and Giroux , 2013), will be released March 19, 2013.  John Freeman, writing for The Guardian, calls the book “an effort to restore the fragile memories of his Sarajevo and follow the threads that link his Bosnian past to his American present.  Hemon’s books of short stories include Love and Obstacles (Penguin, 2009), Nowhere Man (Doubleday, 2002), and The Question of Bruno: Stories (Doubleday, 2000). His novel The Lazarus Project (Riverhead Books, 2008) was a New York Times Notable Book and New York magazine’s No. 1 Book of the Year.  His non-fiction work appears frequently in The New Yorker and the New York Times.  In 2004, Hemon was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

Patrick McCarthy has worked with St. Louis’s Bosnian community since 1993.  In 1994, he traveled to wartime Sarajevo and founded the St. Louis Bosnian Student Project, which located scholarships for Bosnian student refugees.  He is author of After the Fall: Srebrenica Survivors in St. Louis (Missouri Historical Society Press, 2000), a Chicago Tribune Editor’s Choice selection.  Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Coles called After the Fall “an extraordinary documentary work, done with great thoughtfulness and with a moral energy that ought give all of us plenty to consider — a book has become a collective witness, on the record, of humanity as it struggles against terrible odds to endure.”  Mr. McCarthy, who is Director of the Medical Library at St. Louis University and a board member of the Bosnian-Herzegovinian American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is also advisor to the traveling exhibitPrijedor: Lives from the Bosnian Genocide.

About The Author


The St. Louis Bosnian is an online database of Bosnian community in St. Louis. The purpose is to document and preserve existence of the Bosnian immigrant community in metropolitan St. Louis area. Through published books, articles, interviews, researches, videos, photos as well as speaker series, seminars, workshops and educational classes. We hope to leave the legacy of our community to the future generations.

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