Book cover
Beekeeping in the End Times

Every hundred years, as the story goes, two angels wonder out loud whether the bees are still swarming. For as long as the bees are swarming, the angels are reassured, the world holds together. Still, the tale suggests, the angels live in anxious anticipation of the End. Local beekeepers in Bosnia and Herzegovina retell the old tale with growing unease, as their honeybees weather the ground effects of climate change.

Beekeeping in the End Times relates extreme weather events and quieter disasters that have been altering honey ecologies across Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2014. While world-wide endangerment of pollinators, and bees in particular, has been the subject of much global concern, effects of climate change on the indispensable honeybees,remain understudied. Drawing on a five-year long study, the book suggests that local apiarists' field observations resonate with many climate biologists' concerns and speculations about the future of plant-bee relations on the warming planet. Local practice also adds to the record complex and puzzling trends that make honey scarce in otherwise lush, biodiverse landscapes.

To Bosnian Muslims, honeybees are more than pollinators. They are inspired beings whose honey is another form of divinely revelation. To appreciate the meaning of honeybees and to grasp the dire ecological catastrophe underway, Jašarević reads contemporary environmental writings and Sufi texts, she listens to the seasoned beekeepers and collects local wisdom tales. From start to finish, Jašarević pores over key Islamic texts, the Quran and the Hadith, and their popular retellings. The Islamic end-times lore, the book proposes, holds surprising lessons on how to live and strive in the 'not yet,' stalling the apocalypse.

Indiana University Press