Zilka Spahić Šiljak

Zilka Spahić Šiljak

WSRP Research Associate 2012–13
Colorado Scholar

Home institution

University of Sarajevo

Research project

Women and Peace-Building in Bosnia and Herzegovina

This project examines the previously under-recognized efforts and achievements of women peace-builders in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Drawing upon life story interviews with women of multiple ethnic and religious backgrounds, it documents and analyzes their contributions to reconciliation in a postwar, plural democratic society.

Zilka Siljak remains to complete her work on Women and Peace-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


HDS 2167: Women, Spirituality, and Peace


Zilka Spahić Šiljak is deputy director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies at the University of Sarajevo. She holds a master's degree in human rights and democracy, jointly conferred by the University of Bologna and the University of Sarajevo, and a PhD in gender studies from the University of Novi Sad. As a research scholar and public intellectual, Šiljak also draws upon more than a decade of experience in the higher education and nongovernmental sectors in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Šiljak's research and activism focuses on the nexus of human rights, religion, politics, education, gender, and peace-building. She has previously taught on these topics at Arizona State University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Oslo, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Vienna, the University of Belgrade, and the University of Novi Sad.

Her research has been included in such publications as Contesting Female, Feminist, and Muslim Identities: Post-socialist Context of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo (2012); Women, Religion, and Politics (2010); Women Believers and Citizens (2009); Three Monotheistic Voices: Introduction to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (2009); and Religious Studies at Universities in BiH (2008).

While at the Women's Studies in Religion Program, Šiljak will complete a book manuscript on women's role in peace-building in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Drawing upon life story interviews with women peacemakers from Bosnia and Herzegovina, this project explores the sociopolitical and cultural challenges they faced, as well as the successes they achieved, while re-rebuilding peaceful relations in a postwar, ethnically divided society.

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