Neda Kacarevic – Historic Bosnia
Process Essay by Neda Kacarevic
The Forgotten Land: Bosnia and Herzegovina
As my family moved to America from Bosnia in the late ‘90s, I was automatically injected into the American culture and never bothered to look back at my fallen country. As I grew older, and people became more inquisitive about my strange accent, or my weird last name, or even the history of my country, I began to realize that I had no real answers to provide them with. Although I told them I was from Bosnia, it was not enough to satisfy their interests. You see, none of my peers really knew where Bosnia was, nor what happened there. Up until recently I have always shrugged off their questions assuming that eventually they will surely learn about it in one of their history classes. But, that never happened. Although the conflict was a huge part of my life, Bosnia, unfortunately, was not a huge part of history. Sure many world-changing events happened in Bosnia, but the history of the country is never mentioned except for in passing. I also realized that I, myself, didn’t know much about the country that I once called home.
As this project came up, I realized that it was the perfect opportunity to educate myself about Bosnia. By making a brochure about my country I could learn about certain sites located around the country, as well as learn the history behind them. In essence, I finally forced myself to dig deep into the culture and history of my country. I also saw it as an opportunity to educate my peers about Bosnia, and in a way reintroduce it to the world. Although, I am not disillusioned, I know that a student brochure will not make a big difference in the fact that Bosnia is almost nonexistent in the minds of many people.
This process turned out to be way more difficult than I would have ever imagined. The issue was not the research, not at all. The issue was the design of the brochure. I never thought that designing a brochure could be so frustrating. As it turns out I am completely clueless when it comes to designing anything, especially a brochure. I was desperately trying to figure out how to make everything look neat, while keeping it informative, but all I did was fail miserably. It was around this time that I really wished that I had chosen to do a poster, or anything other than a brochure, because, as it turns out, I am completely unaware as to how to use a template. It was entirely too complicated, and I just ended up piecing together a weird template of some sort for my brochure. I am sure that my brochure is something that design professionals around the world would probably cry at. It is indeed very sad. However, I feel the need to say that I tried very hard and the end result was the best that I could do with what I had to work with (myself).
One of my greatest successes, I would argue, was the fact that all of the pictures, except the War Tunnel and the Olympic games poster, came directly from my family and friends. I really did not want to use images that were taken by others. For one, I didn’t know how to cite them, and also it would just be too impersonal for me. As I’ve stated before, on a personal level, I wanted this project to help me reconnect with my country. These original pictures certainly helped with that.
I really enjoyed the fact that this project allowed me to choose any topic of my liking. Because of this project I know what to do when I go back to visit my country this summer. Although all of my family lives there, and they know all of the places, they don’t necessarily know all of the history behind these places. Because of the research that I had to do, I was able to learn certain histories about some places that I never knew before. On the other hand, the thing that I most disliked about this project was the fact that I chose to do something that was not in my best interest. I loved my topic, but I absolutely hated the actual project. This, of course, is no one’s fault but my own. I had no idea that I was so technologically challenged to the point that I did not know how to make a proper brochure. However, overall, I really enjoyed the project, so I will stop complaining about my technological illiteracy.
What this project does, in the end (pretty or not), is it allows people to see what beautiful sites Bosnia has to offer. Although Bosnia has many issues, the fact remains that it is still a very beautiful country today. The way it contributes to the public’s understanding of history is through the sites it highlights. It brings awareness to the war that happened, as well as the culture that thrives within the country. People are able to see that Bosnia contributed to some of the most crucial parts of history, and informs them about the shot that started World War I.
The way that this project relates to the readings that we’ve had throughout the semester is by utilizing both natural beauty, and historic events to tell a story. Public history not only deals with the history of the humans, but of nature as well. This project shows the landscape of Bosnia, and also allows people to see the architecture that was favored in the past. It educates people about the events that changed Bosnian history, as well as world history. All in all, I believe that this project does a good job of utilizing the readings that we have read throughout the semester.
This project definitely challenged me in ways that I didn’t think were possible, but after it is all said and done, I am okay with the work that I did. The brochure, I admit, is kind of weird looking, but I think that I did a pretty good job for someone that doesn’t really know how to make a brochure. It was definitely an interesting challenge. In the end, I am happy that I got to do this project. It helped me reconnect with my country, and I am looking forward to utilizing the knowledge that I have gained when I go and visit it.