RPP #9: Final Fall Mentor Meeting

I met with Dr. Robert Adcock on Wednesday, December 5, 2019, for about forty minutes. Our discussion primarily consisted of an analysis of my most recent Research Design, how my Final Literature Review presentation and paper is coming along, and finally, what my next steps are, not only towards next week but also into SISU-306. Overall the discussion was productive and a great insight into how I should change my project.

The first thing we covered was the edits I would have to make going into the final project. The primary edit was the alteration of my object of inquiry, which was initially ethnicity, but after further discussion changed to decentralization, and how official American actors may perpetuate a discourse of both security and insecurity about said object. The alteration was primarily due to the limitations presented by the object of “ethnicity,” in that, one, its nature as an object was a more “fluid” rather than “solid” object, in that it focused more on views, rather than an actual discourse. The further limitation was that I could only understand English, so I would only be able to investigate the issue from an American perspective, rather than a Bosnian, media discourse surrounding the issue.

Aside from making some more minor edits, we further discussed how my project was going. I affirmed with Dr. Adcock that I would be tackling an interpretivist study and that the presentation aspect of our project was helping me assort my schools of thought and prepare for the actual expansion upon them. From there, we discussed how my schools of thought had been adjusted to adapt to my new object. Dr. Adcock added that through this transformation, I could develop a sense of trustworthiness with my reader, as I am willing and open to not only expose myself to new viewpoints on my project but also recognize the changes I had to make as a result. Finally, I assured Dr. Adcock that I would send him both a copy of my Final Literature Review presentation and paper once I finished.

Regarding the next steps towards 306, Dr. Adcock suggested I look further into the divergence of scholars and policymakers within my research, as well as try to look deeper into the non-profit sector regarding official actors, which I intend to do over Christmas break as well. Other things I plan to do over winter break is to read some memoirs, specifically of Richard Holbrooke, regarding the war, to gather more primary evidence on the topic, as that is something, I feel that is needed more for my project.

Overall, though I am nervous, with the confidence that Dr. Adcock has given me over the past few months, I feel that I am prepared to take on this new challenge that is SISU-306.

RPP #2 – Meeting with the Faculty Mentor

I met with Dr. Robert Adcock on August 28, 2019, from 1 PM -1:35 PM and alongside introducing ourselves formally, we began our discussion regarding my research project. From the get-go, I outlined my goals, as well as some issues that I had been having regarding my initial project design. From there, Dr. Adcock and I discussed three options, or next steps forward, in order to mitigate the issues, I was having.

The first issue I had was with my original sources of empirical data. Previously, I thought I would utilize secondary school textbooks to study the varying linguistic patterns and how that would perpetuate ethnic division. However, the problem with that was I did not understand Bosnian, Serbian or Croatian, thus making interpretation difficult as well as leave me vulnerable to the bias of certain online translation systems. Furthermore, the sources would be difficult to obtain in a feasible amount of time, as they would most likely come from the Georg Eckert Institute, an organization that specifically studies and provides textbooks internationally. Thus, Dr. Adcock suggested the following three sources to investigate:

  1. NGO/U.N. Documents – since the United Nations did deploy a peacekeeping mission during the conflict, there must be reports, both individual and organizational, that would be valuable and accessible. Based on my research over the last week alone, I’ve not only procured the English transcript from the Dayton Agreement but have also obtained access to several summaries as well as scholarly interpretations of the agreement.[1] I believe that these resources will be valuable towards building a larger, outside narrative of the war built upon by government officials.
  2. Journalism – alongside government, there also needs to be a ground perspective as well. I plan to look deeper into journalists similar to Joe Sacco, as well as radio, television and newspapers within the country.
  3. Geospatial & Demographic Data – since I’ve been pretty set on interpretative documents, Dr.Adcock suggested I look deeper into neo positivist methods of research. He first suggested looking into what is called “death maps”, which are interactive map databases that certain NGOs have programmed in order to document civilian death counts in different regions which I hope to help find through geospatial technology here at AU. Furthermore, we discussed looking deeper into census data to see if any patterns had been emerging in certain cantons.

From this, we discussed the second issue I was having, which was determining the canton I would study. However, this was mitigated by the suggestion of other empirical sources of evidence, as mentioned above, and most likely I will look both geospatial, as well as historical documents, to see which area has had the most contentious history regarding resolution since the ceasefire. As of right now, I am particularly interested in Travnik, which as I mentioned in RPP #1, was an area that resisted the lifting of the school segregation, so I will begin to take a look at that area as well. Alongside this, Dr. Adcock also suggested I begin reading Analyzing Social Narratives by Shaul R. Shenhav, which he recommended as a good starting point before I begin examining other documents and searching for narrative development within them. [2]

Regarding any concerns, I really do not have any as of the moment, other than balancing my time in order to ensure that I focusing on my project alongside other schoolwork, as it can be quite captivating and thus time-consuming for the other classes that I regard equally as important, but I am sure that will come with time. Other than that, I look forward to the next steps of my project, which include finishing Shenhav’s book, visiting AU’s geospatial lab, looking deeper into the ‘what’ of my project, which I do have some ideas for that I look forward to presenting to Dr.Adcock at our next meeting on September 11, 2019.


[1] “General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” opened for signature
21 November 1995, General Assembly & Security Council, 28, September 7,2019

[2] Shenhav, Shaul R. Analyzing Social Narratives. London, United Kingdom: Routledge, 2015. http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/aul/detail.action?docID=2038970.