Dr. Wagner is a social anthropologist who works in the former Yugoslavia and the United States. Her research has explored connections between the destructive and creative forces of war, focusing on the identification of missing persons in Bosnia and Herzegovina, specifically victims of the Srebrenica genocide, and the United States military's attempts to recover and identify service members Missing In Action (MIA) from the past century's conflicts.
Her first book was an ethnographic study of the forensic and commemorative practices developed in response to the Srebrenica genocide. Her second book, co-authored with Lara Nettelfield, examined intervention into postwar Bosnia and Herzegovina, again focused on Srebrenica and its legacy of loss and remembrance.
Her third book, What Remains: Bringing America's Missing Home from the Vietnam War," examines the scientific efforts and sociopolitical effects of the US military's accounting mission for its missing war dead from the conflict in Southeast Asia.
Current ongoing projects include: (1) ethnographic research (including digital ethnography) on changes in funeral, burial, and commemorative ritual brought about by COVID-19; and (2) ethnographic and archival research into the recovery, repatriation, identification, and commemoration of US service members Missing In Action and presumed dead from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, tracing the relation between advances in forensic science and changing modes of national commemoration.