Eight faculty members were selected to travel to Bosnia-Herzegovina this summer on the fourth-annual Zuheir-Sofia Endowed International Faculty Seminar, according to a press release.
“It’s basically designed to give faculty who participate in this broad, deep understanding of what the culture and society of Bosnia-Herzegovina is and what it’s like,” trip co-leader Jerry Daday, associate professor of sociology, said.
The annual ZSEIFS is basically a study abroad experience for faculty, Daday explained. Faculty will have the chance to interact with citizens as well as meet with both government and non-governmental organizations. Faculty will also have time to work on individual projects and research related to their discipline, Daday said.
Selected faculty members include Kentucky Folk Life Program Director Brent Björkman; assistant professor of paralegal studies, Jennifer Brinkley; assistant professor of journalism and broadcasting, Amanda Crawford; assistant professor of history, Marko Dumancic; assistant professor of folk studies and anthropology, Kate Horigan; professor of journalism and broadcasting, James Kenney; art professor Yvonne Petkus and Cheryl Wolf of counseling and student affairs, according to the release.
Part of the program’s purpose is to gather material and prepare for the following school year’s International Year of Program; 2017-2018 will be the International Year of Bosnia. ZSEIFS participating faculty are expected to bring what they’ve learned back to campus and incorporate it into their course content for the semester.
Dumancic relocated from Croatia to Boston, Massachusetts, at age 16 with his mother. Despite growing up in the region, he had never gotten the chance to visit Bosnia, so he took advantage of the opportunity to travel with ZSEIFS this summer.
Part of Dumancic’s research focuses on the way homosexuality is treated in Bosnia, which he plans to continue this summer.
“What I work on is how homosexuality is discussed in public,” Dumancic said. “I look at depictions of LGBT populations in films, and then how those films are discussed.”
Dumancic teaches a course on the history of genocide, which includes content covering the genocide in Bosnia. Dumancic said he plans to incorporate the chapter of war and genocide in Bosnia with a particular focus on rape camps, where genocidal rape was used for ethnic cleansing during the Bosnian War.
Kenney said he has always been interested in the region and will be taking the opportunity to work with a former student of his who lives in Bosnia.
“We’re going to collaborate on the state of Bosnia in the post-war,” Kenney said. “We’ve got to explore not only the effects of the war, but Bosnia’s identity beyond the war.”
Brinkley said she was thrilled to be selected for the trip, saying it is an honor.
“Getting to bring my knowledge back to my students is going to be such an amazing opportunity for me and for my students as well,” Brinkley said.
On the first ZSEIFS programs to Ecuador 2014 and South Africa 2015, student photographers traveled with the faculty to gather material to enhance the International Year of program. However, prompted by fewer resources, the Office of International Programs decided not to fund the participation of students this year, Addie Cheney, assistant director of international programs, said in an email.
“At its core, ZSEIFS is about faculty development,” Cheney said. “By investing in the faculty (through programs like ZSEIFS), we have the ability to shape the academic experiences of countless students.”