Set in the beautiful, sprawling Field of Gacko in southeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina, Safet HadžiMuhamedović
’s book Waiting for Elijah: Time and Encounter in a Bosnian Landscape
(Berghahn Books, 2018) takes readers through intimate encounters and syncretic moments as he and his interlocutors wait for Elijah’s Day. An annual festival that is shared by Muslims and Christians in the area, Elijah’s Day forms the basis for a “grand chrontope” that imbues time with meaning in the Field. Yet, the day—and the book—are about so much more, as HadžiMuhamedović writes skillfully across cosmologies, postwar life, and possibilities for resistance in other temporalities, analyzing social difference without reducing it. In addition to the traditional writing of an academic book, he includes a closing section called “The Georgics: An Extended Poetry of the Land,” which explores connections and moments that do not fit neatly into the conceptual foreclosure of scholarship but raise profound questions nonetheless.
Safet HadžiMuhamedović is Senior Teaching Fellow in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and joined us to talk about karstic landscapes, (schizo)chronotopes, and writing about time, space, landscape, and difference.
Dino Kadich is an MPhil candidate in geography at the University of Cambridge. You can follow him on Twitter @dinokadich.