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Waiting for Elijah: Time and Encounter in a Bosnian Landscape

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Waiting for Elijah

Time and Encounter in a Bosnian Landscape

Safet HadžiMuhamedović

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304 pages, 26 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-856-4 25% OFF! $130.00/£92.00 $97.50/£69.00 Hb Published (April 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-857-1 eBook

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“Safet HadžiMuhamedović’s work makes a very significant contribution to the field of phenomenological, anthropological, and historical research on Bosnia and Herzegovina in general, and to the exploration of affective landscapes in particular… The one thing that comes across to any scholar of the Balkans is the authenticity of his writing. This work had me enthralled at times, and I couldn’t put it down.” • Robert Hudson, University of Derby

Waiting for Elijah makes a major contribution to our understanding of the role of cultural practices and social resilience in post-disaster recovery periods. HadžiMuhamedović carefully examines how rituals and cultural practices entwine time and space to construct a social field… Deciding to conceptually articulate social interactions by emphasizing the notion of ‘encounter’, HadžiMuhamedović exhibits the complex social diversity in his case study and avoids reducing it to religious or ethnic diversity.” • Reza Masoudi-Nejad, SOAS University of London


Waiting for Elijah is an intimate portrait of time-reckoning, syncretism, and proximity in one of the world’s most polarized landscapes, the Bosnian Field of Gacko. Centered on the shared harvest feast of Elijah’s Day, the once eagerly awaited pinnacle of the annual cycle, the book shows how the fractured postwar landscape beckoned the return of communal life that entails such waiting. This seemingly paradoxical situation—waiting to wait—becomes a starting point for a broader discussion on the complexity of time set between cosmology, nationalism, and embodied memories of proximity.

Safet HadžiMuhamedović currently teaches anthropology at the University of Bristol. He has conducted fieldwork in Bosnia, Palestine, and the Basque Country since 2009 and has been recipient of a number of prestigious research awards. He has previously taught at Goldsmiths and SOAS, University of London, and Goethe University Frankfurt, and has written on sacral landscapes, historicity, and political agency of “nonhuman” beings, and ontological approaches to the question of home.

Subject: General Anthropology Religion Refugee & Migration Studies
Area: Central/Eastern Europe


List of Illustrations



Chapter 1. Schizochronotopia or Elijah’s Pitfall
Chapter 2. Time and Home
Chapter 3. Time and In-Other
Chapter 4. Time and Epic Residues


Prelude: A River of Many Names
Chapter 5. The Georgics: An Extended Poetry of the Land

Conclusion: Waiting for Elijah


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