Workshop: “A Detour to Islam: Popular Health Therapies in Postsocialist Bosnia,” Larisa Jasarevic, Anthropology of Europe Workshop, April 1

The Anthropology of Europe Workshop and The Middle Eastern History and Theory Workshop (MEHAT) proudly present:

“Three Lights on Queen’s Face:  Ethnography of mêlée” 

by Larisa Jasarevic
Senior Lecturer, International Studies Program, University of Chicago

Noha Forester, Lecturer of Arabic, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Friday, April 1st, 4:00-5:30pm
Pick Hall 218
5828 S. University Ave.

Refreshments will be provided

Abstract: This text is about therapeutic encounters at Nerka’s, singularly powerful and popular healer in contemporary Bosnia, which has seen an explosion of magical and medical market since the 1990s war and peace. While sorcery and Koranic healing appeal to people in Bosnia irrespective of their religious backgrounds, Nerka’s inventive, irreverent, and inconsistent rituals simultaneously enact and displace the ethno-national and religious differences and passions that are conventionally wedded to the three dominant Bosnian peoples: Bosnian Muslims, Bosnian Eastern Orthodox Serbs, and Bosnian Catholic Croats. This essay begins with Jean-Luc Nancy’s reserved handling of identity and ethnicity in his “Eulogy for Mêlée,” written in 1993 for Sarajevo, Bosnia’s capital, under siege but shifts attention to the ritual spaces where the practice and idea of mixing is far more frenzied but perhaps no less critical or effective. Nerka, whom patients’ have lovingly titled the Queen of Health, offers no easy model of multicultural citizenship but the uncertainty that reigns in her office, gathers followers around the impossibility of belonging.

To obtain a copy of the paper, please send an email request to either Shirley Yeung( or Natalja Czarnecki ( Those seeking further information or persons with disabilities who may need assistance should please also email either Natalja Czarnecki or Shirley Yeung.

For more information about the Anthropology of Europe Workshop, please visit our blog, at

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