Subscribe to our newsletter:
Picture of Shining Humanity

Shining Humanity

Life Stories of Women in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Author(s): Zilka Spahić Šiljak
Subject: Gender Studies

Book Description

Shining Humanity: Life Stories of Women Peace Builders in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a collection of biographies of eleven local peace leaders from varying ethnic, religious, and non-religious backgrounds. As these stories begin to illuminate the women’s deep faith in humanity, they can help to teach us how to become fully human beings in difficult wartime and post-war situations. The women selected for inclusion in this book showed genuine humanity (ljudskost) in the darkness of war and suffering, but dared to imagine a life beyond the imposed boundaries of violence and fear.

This book sheds light on the women’s side of peace work and on women’s efforts to (re)build, to heal, to reconcile, to empower, and to embrace all the challenges and complexities of the post-war Bosnian realm. These women hope to teach the next generation that each and every person has the capacity to do something good, and, for this to happen, young people need only have faith that it is indeed possible to change things for the better.

The author examines how moral imagination functioned in the lives of women peace builders as they proceeded to make progress in their efforts to bring peace to their communities, and discusses the social history of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), its special dynamics, values, and norms; the role of religion in peace-building in an overwhelmingly de-secularized society; and, finally, the achievements of ordinary women who made extraordinary journeys.

This analytical account of the life stories of Bosnian women peace builders provides valuable anthropological material from the local Bosnian context that can offer guidance for other regional, and even global, peace builders. Readers will learn that peace-building in BiH was motivated by the concepts of both care ethics and feminist ethics of justice and compassion, as well as the surviving socialist ethics of unity and equality, and by the universal human rights norms codified in the legal system of BiH. Most of the peace builders in this book are religious, but their religion came into play only later as one of many equally important and relevant rationales for their peace work.

These stories do not present an idealized image of women or of perfect peace activists, but rather they tell the tale of ordinary women who bore witness to horror but chose to live in hope.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-6023-9
ISBN-10: 1-4438-6023-9
Date of Publication: 01/08/2014
Pages / Size: 437 / A5
Price: £49.99


Dr Zilka Spahić Šiljak is a research scholar and public intellectual addressing cutting-edge issues involving human rights, politics, religion, education and peace-building with more than ten years’ experience in academic teaching, and work in governmental and non-governmental sectors. She is currently Visiting Scholar at the Women’s Studies in Religion program of Harvard University, having previously worked at the Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies of the University of Sarajevo. Her publications include Contesting Female, Feminist and Muslim Identities: Post-socialist Contexts of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo and Women, Religion and Politics.