Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Thesis (UNI Access Only)


Immigrants, Bosnian--Iowa--Waterloo; Bosnia--Emigration and immigration; Waterloo (Iowa)--Emigration and immigration;


This thesis explores the experiences of Bosnian war refugees and immigrants who moved to Waterloo, Iowa in the latter half of the 1990s through 2017. I explore Bosnian immigration to Waterloo, Iowa by looking at the political causes that led to the Bosnian war, the experiences that the refugees and immigrants went through to come to America, and ultimately how those experiences shaped their national and cultural identities. Moreover, I explore how Bosnian experiences in Waterloo reflect the experiences of Bosnians moving to similar and larger cities in America, such as, Chicago, Utica, New York and St. Louis, Missouri. I examine how they have retained and or changed their perception of self, that is, how they see themselves now that they and their families have created a new life in Waterloo. What do they consider themselves to be, Bosnians, Yugoslavs, or a combination of a number of different national and religious identities? The five oral histories utilized in this thesis are those of everyday Bosnian men and women who moved to America as a result of the war. Their stories were conveyed orally and later transcribed for inclusion into this thesis. Four chapters explain the experiences of the refugees and immigrants themselves. Chapter One focuses on the political instability that led to the disintegration of Yugoslavia and ethnic war. Chapter Two examines how the families came to the United States. Chapter Three focuses on the occupations of the immigrants and how they fit into the public stereotype and perceptions of immigrants coming to America. Chapter Four concludes the immigration narrative of Bosnians by looking at the meaning, identity, and impact that Bosnian immigration has had to larger cities in America and how that same impact is replicated in Midwest America. These findings in the later chapters contribute to the study of immigration for they help reveal how immigration in the late twentieth and early twenty-first century adheres to or counters research findings about immigration.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of History

First Advisor

Leisl Carr-Childers, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (iii, 126 pages)



File Format


Off-Campus Download