Screening Bosnia:

Geopolitics, Gender and Nationalism in Film and Television Images of the 1992-95 War

New book by Stephen Harper

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The Bosnian war of 1992-1995 was one of the most brutal conflicts to have erupted since the end of the Second World War. But although the war occurred in ‘Europe’s backyard’ and received significant media coverage in the West, relatively little scholarly attention has been devoted to cultural representations of the conflict. Stephen Harper analyses how the war has been depicted in global cinema and television over the past quarter of a century. Focusing on the representation of some of the war’s major themes, including humanitarian intervention, the roles of NATO and the UN, genocide, rape and ethnic cleansing, Harper explores the role of popular media culture in reflecting, reinforcing — and sometimes contesting — nationalist ideologies.


“Harper offers a persuasive and powerful account of the representations of the Bosnian war that tells a wider story about ‘oversimplifications of historical reality’ in cinematic productions and reveals how strongly geopolitical ideologies can underpin popular culture.” –  European Journal of Communication“Very well written, engaged and easily readable, this books offers and excellent combination of textual and visual analysis of the Bosnian war movies with general cultural and film theory on the one hand, and on the other hand shows links between media and cinematic production with dominant discourses in international relations and foreign affairs of major geopolitical powers. Relating media representations and geo-politics has been more prominent in scholarship since the 9/11, but applying it – so thoroughly and knowledgeably – to the cinematic production about Bosnian war is a welcome novelty.” –  Dubravka Zarkov, Associate Professor, International Institute of Social Studies/EUR, The Netherlands

Screening Bosnia presents a trenchant analysis of how films and TV dramas have reproduced and endorsed a tendentious ideological version of the Bosnian war. Stephen Harper ably skewers the historical inaccuracies and Balkanist stereotyping employed by liberal filmmakers promoting liberal interventionist fantasies. Not only is this book a brilliant work of film criticism, it also challenges common-sense orthodoxies about past conflicts and current geopolitics.” –  Philip Hammond, Professor of Media & Communications, London South Bank University, UK