Jennifer Erickson, an anthropology professor at Ball State University, will conduct research and teach in Bosnia-Herzegovina during Spring semester 2021 as a result of winning a U.S. Scholar award from the Fulbright Program.

Erickson’s research project, “The Good Life: Examining Everyday Life in Postwar/Postindustrial Zenica,” will examine life in Zenica, a city of about 115,000 people in the heart of Bosnia. The study will focus on the everyday practices of local residents during a rapid transformation as a result of the civil war that engulfed the region in the early 1990s.

Jennifer Erickson and students

Jennifer Erickson with students during a 2019 trip to the region

During the war, Zenica transformed from communism to neoliberal capitalism, and civil society expanded during the war.

“Due to its steel plant, Zenica serves as an iconic symbol of the industrialization of the former Yugoslavia, but since the war, it suffers from privatization, political instability, and economic and social inequalities, even while demonstrating resilience,” Erickson said. “Our study will examine how the residents feel about their city, how they balance obligations to family, friends, neighbors, work, leisure, and community, and if there is a common good, and if so, who do residents feel is best suited to provide it.”

The Fulbright Program is devoted to increasing mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. Fulbright is the world’s largest and most diverse international educational exchange program. Fulbright alumni include 60 Nobel Laureates, 86 Pulitzer Prize winners, 74 MacArthur Fellows, and thousands of leaders across the private, public and nonprofit sectors.

In addition to conducting research, the professor will teach a course on American culture for the University of Zenica. Erickson lived and worked in Zenica from 1998-2000, returning in 2003 to conduct research for her master’s degree. She led a group of Ball State students to several cities throughout the region in 2019.