Sonja Žakula

Sonja Žakula

Title: PhD

Position: Research Associate

Research interests: anthropology of human-animal relations, anthropology of the internet, anthropology of science, punk studies.

Sonja Žakula was born in 1985 in Belgrade, where she finished primary school and the Philological high school (with an accent on the classics). She completed her graduate studies at the University of Belgrade, department of ethnology and anthropology in 2009, and completed her MA at the same department in 2010. Her thesis, titled “The Scientific construction of Cultural Conceptions about Animals” won the department’s award for best MA paper in 2010. She defended her PhD thesis titled "Zoos in Serbia: an Anthropological perspective" at the same department in December 2017.


From 2004 to 2009 she was engaged as a junior teaching assistant at the ethnology/ socio-cultural anthropology seminar at Petnica Science Center. From 2009 she is engaged as a teaching assistant and deputy head of the anthropology seminar at PSC. Between January 2013 and December 2017 she was head of the Anthropology seminar at Petnica Science Center.
During 2009 she worked as a researcher on the Governance in higher education in Serbia project organized by the Center for Education Policy from Belgrade. The resulting paper, “Decision making in Higher Education in Serbia – an Ethnographic study of the Senat of the University of Novi Sad” is due to be published in an edited volume collecting all the papers resulting from the project.
Since February 2011 she has been employed on the Cultural heritage and identity project at the Ethnographic institute of the SASA, first as a research trainee, then as a research associate, and since 2018 as a scientific associate on the project.

Fields of interest: human-animal relations and critical animal studies, anthropology of the Internet and virtual realities, material culture and punk studies.

In the school year 2017/2018 she attended and successfully finished I and II level (semester) studies in public relations, based on a curriculum formatted using the IPRA - International Public Relations Association standard at the Business school for Public Relations in Belgrade.
She is fluent in English (and frequently works as a translator of scholarly texts to and from English), has basic knowledge of Italian and German, and a basic knowledge of Latin and Ancient Greek.

  • Žakula, S. (ed.) 2008. The post, studentski antropološki časopis, no. 3, Beograd: KSEA – editor in chief
  • Žakula, S. (2011) „Zimski seminar antropologije u Istraživačkoj stanici Petnica“, in: Antropologija, no. 1 (11), pp. 229-230
  • Žakula, S. (2011) „Upotreba pojma ’kultura’ u studijama savremene srpske kulturne politike“, in: The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA no. LIX (2), pp. 257-260
  • Žakula, S. 2012. „Do cyborgs dream of biomechanical sheep? The body and hyperreality“, in: Antropologija no. 2 (12), pp. 43-61
  • Žakula, S. 2012. „What makes a contemporary werewolf? A semiotic analysis of newspaper articles on the 'werewolf of Tamnava county'“, in: Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology no. 7 (4), pp. 1017-1032
  • Žakula, S. 2013. "(Mis)understanding Darwin: evolution and the construction of the border between humans and animals", in: Kulturna prožimanja: antropološke perspektive, ed. Srđan Radović, 31-50. Beograd: Etnografski institut SANU (Zbornik Etnografskog instituta 28)
  • Žakula, S. 2013. "The narrativization of an unusual event at Belgrade zoo: a semiotic analysis of the story of Gabi the dog and the jaguar", in: Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology no. 8 (4), pp. 1047-1069
  • Žakula, S. 2014. "The animal body, violence and moral panic: the case of Mila the dog", in: The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA 62 (1), pp. 163 – 178
  • Žakula, S. 2015. "International summer school and conference Keep it simple, make it fast! Crossing borders of underground music scenes", in: The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA, LXIII (3): 651-655.
  • Filipović, M. i Žakula, S. 2017. "Social patterns of natural disasters: the case of hurricane Katrina", in Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, p. 195–215
  • Tomašević Milan and Sonja Žakula. 2017. "The Institute of Ethnography SASA and Researchers' Night: a three year chronicle", in: The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA, LXV (1): 239-241.
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2017. "Multiculturality", in: prof. dr Ljiljana Gavrilović (ed.) Ethnology and anthropology 70 concepts. Beograd: Službeni glasnik i Etnografski institut SANU, p. 226-230.
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2017. "Nature", in: prof. dr Ljiljana Gavrilović (ed.) Ethnology and anthropology 70 concepts. Beograd: Službeni glasnik i Etnografski institut SANU, p. 339-344.
  • Bašič Ivana, Žakula Sonja and Miloš Rašić. 2017. "Symbol", in: prof. dr Ljiljana Gavrilović (ed.) Ethnology and anthropology 70 concepts. Beograd: Službeni glasnik i Etnografski institut SANU, p. 372-379.
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2017. Zoos in Serbia: an anthropological perspective. PhD thesis. The Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade. Žakula, Sonja and Bojana Bogdanović. 2017. "70 година Етнографског института САНУ - хроника прославе". у: The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA, LXV (3): 715-721
  • Žakula, Sonja; Đorđević Crnobrnja, Jadranka. 2018. Art Practices and Urban Promenades: Belgrade's Knez Mihailova Street vs. Dionysius the Areopagite Promenade in Athens. The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA, [S.l.], v. 66, n. 1, p. 226-227,
  • Žakula, Sonja., "O antropologiji koja nadilazi ljudsko. Eduardo Kohn, 2013. University of California Press." Antropologija 18, no. 2 (2018). 167-171.
  • Žakula, Sonja; Živaljević, Ivana."The study of human-animal relations in anthropology and archaeology I". The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA, [S.l.], v. 66, n. 2, p. 255-270,
  • Žakula, Sonja; Živaljević, Ivana."The study of human-animal relations in anthropology and archaeology II". The Bulletin of the Institute of Ethnography SASA, [S.l.], v. 67, n. 1, p. 153-172

Conference presentations:

  • (Ne)razumeti Darvina: evolucija i kulturna konceptualizacija granice između ljudi i životinja u antropološkoj perspektivi – presentation at the “Cultures and borders” international conference held in Vršac in 2011
  • Da li kiborzi sanjaju biomehaničke ovce? Telo i hiperrealnost – presentation at the “Body, (bio)technologies and power” conference held at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade in 2011
  • Keynote lecture titled ’The animal turn’ in the social sciences: unnatural histories, anthropomorphism and the voiceless Other held at the Fourth International Archaeology Students Conference STARCO, held at Zlatibor in March 2013
  • Presentation titled „Koncept ’verovanja’ u radovima Tihomira Đorđevića o životinjama“ given at the ’Etnos’, religija i identitet: naučni skup u čast Dušana Bandića conference held in April 2014 at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade
  • Presentation titled „The Separation of Scene and State: the Balkanization of the Belgrade Punk Scene in the Wake of the Wars in Yugoslavia“ given at the international Keep it simple, make it fast: crossing borders of underground music scenes conference held at the University of Porto in Portugal in July 2015
  • Presentation titled „Punk, politics and resistance“ given at the Punk now! Conference and postgraduate symposium held at City University Birmingham, UK in October 2015
  • Presentation titled Punk rock, feminism and the loud absence of riot girl from the 90's Belgrade scene. Given at the Keep it simple, make it fast! DIY cultures, spaces and places conference in Porto in Portugal in July 2016.
  • Presentation titled Human-animal relations in anthropology and archaeology. Given along with Ivana Živaljević at the Retrospektive i perspektive etnologije i antropologije - međunarodna naučna konferencija povodom 70 godina Etnografskog instituta SANU conference in Sirogojno, Serbia in September 2017.
  • Presentation titled Pretty in punk: female bodies and identity performance in the pit.Given at the Keep it simple, make it fast! Gender, differences, identities and DIY culturesconference in Porto, Portugal in July 2018.

Lectures given

  • Žakula, Sonja. 2012. How science created cultural ideas about animals – lecture held at the department of Archaeology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, as part of the “Archaeology and Social Anthropology” course on March16th 2012.
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2013. Plenary lecture titled ’The animal turn’ in the social sciences: unnatural histories, anthropomorphism and the voiceless Other, held at the Fourth International STARCO (students' archaeology conference) in March 2013.
  • Žakula, Sonja. Leture titledThe study of human-animal relations in anthropology, given by invitation at the Institute for Phylosophy and Social Theory in Belgrade, on June 15th 2015.
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2015. Lecture titled Do cyborgs dream of biomechanical sheep? Given on September 18th2015 at Belgrade city Library, as part of Researchers' night
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2016. Lecture titled The animal body in science given by invitation on July 7th 2016 at the Centre for the study of Bioethics in Belgrade.
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2016. Lecture titled Sociocultural anthropology and animals held on December 28th 2016 at the Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Philosophy in Belgrade, as part og the "Introduction to Archaeology" course.
  • Žakula, Sonja. 2017. Lecture titled Doing fieldwork in a zoo given by invitation on November 28th 2017, as part of the Sećanje na sećanja exhibition.
  • Between 2011 and 2019, Žakula has given about 50 lectures at Petnica Science Center, mostly at interdisciplinary social science and humanities seminars: Mind, Language and Culture; History, Culture and Civilization; at the Summer Science School aimed at elementary school students, at the interdisciplinary seminar ALL aimed at highschool students, the social sciences and humanities seminar DRH, as well as the Anthropology seminar.
  • 31.10.2018 Moderated the discussion on the ethnographic film "PET kućnih ljubimaca" as part of the "Ethnological films in Manak's house" program.
  • 7.2.2019 Participated in a roundtable discussion on human-animal relations, as part of the "Co-voyagers" exhibition at the French Institute in Belgrade.
  • 19.4.2019 Participated in roundtable discussion on the preservation of wild animal habitats and humans' attitudes toward them as part of the opening ceremony for the exhibition "Instinct and terrain" at the French Institute in Begrade.
  • 24.4.2019 Participated in the discussion on the relationship between humans and animals in zoos as part of the "EMIL (B5044)" exhibition at the Art Gallery of the Belgrade Cultural Center.

Various:

  • 2009 Center for education policy, Belgrade – researcher with the “Governing in higher education in Serbia” project
  • Since 2013 a participant in "European Researchers' night - Serbia" funded by the Marie Curie Foundation as part of the Horizon 2020 Project.
  • From 2014 to 2018 (with a break in 2016) coordinated the exhibitions representing ethnology and anthropology at "European Researcher's night - Serbia"
  • 2018actively participated in organizing "Open doors of The Institute of Ethnography SASA" events as part of the Working group for "Open doors of The Institute of Ethnography SASA"
  • 2019 became coordinator of the Working group for "Open doors of the Institute of Ethnography SASA"