Julienne Weegels (Haarlem, 1987) is assistant professor of Latin American Studies at CEDLA as of August 2020. She is an ethnographer with a BA in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology from the University of Amsterdam (2008), and an MA in Latin American Studies from the CEDLA (2009, cum laude). She obtained her PhD in Social Sciences from the University of Amsterdam AISSR (2018, cum laude) and was a postdoctoral researcher at CEDLA between 2018-2020, during which she was also a visiting fellow to the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology’s Prisons Research Centre (PRC, 2019). She is the co-organizer of the Global Prisons Research Network, founding member of the Red de Investigación Penitenciaria de las Américas (APRN-RISPA), and former co-convener of the Anthropology of Confinement Network (2018-2020 & 2020-2022). Between 2009 and 2016 she conducted 31 months of field research in Nicaragua with prisoners and former prisoners of three prison facilities. She has published in a number of high-ranking peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Latin American Studies and the International Criminal Justice Review.
Research interests & projects
Julienne is much interested in the politics of (dis)order and the entanglement of violence with governance and contestation. Her PhD research focused on Nicaraguan (former) prisoners’ experiences of imprisonment and the state and on their ‘performing’ of violence, governance, masculinities, and change. Simultaneously, however, it also sought to shed light on the development of Nicaragua’s hybrid carceral state and the intimate relation it projects between extralegality and the exercise of (state) power. This research culminated in the manuscript ‘Performing Prison: Power, Agency, and Co-Governance in Nicaraguan Prisons’ (cum laude).
Following the 2018 anti-government protests in Nicaragua, Julienne has been conducting research on practices of (state) violence, carceral resistance and authoritarianism. This research project takes the key findings and material from her prisons research as its point of departure, combining it with new research on the changing practices and understandings of policing and incarceration in Nicaragua today. In 2023, Julienne conducted exploratory research in El Salvador and Honduras, working on the development of a larger, comparative project on carceral expansion and contestations in the region. Throughout, she has been involved in the organization and editing of special collections on confinement beyond the prison proper, and the edited volume 'Carceral Worlds: Legacies, Textures, Futures' (Bloomsbury, 2024).
Over the past years, Julienne managed to secure grants for various collaborative research projects around her topics of interest, including:
In 2022-23, funding from the Amsterdam Knowledge Centre on Inequality as PI on a participatory action research driven research project on the interplay of urban inequalities and criminal justice interventions in the city of Amsterdam, titled "Het Ongelijkheidsbeginsel: Tussen Stadsdeel en Strafrecht" (The Principle of Inequality: Between Criminal Justice and City District). This project was realized in collaboration with Restorative Justice Netherlands and dr. Thijs Jeursen (Utrecht University), and kickstarted the Alliance for Systemic Change. The final report can be found here. Additional funding was secured from the UvA Centre for Urban Studies for the realization of the international colloquium "Prisons & Urban Inequalities" on 13 October 2023.
In 2021, with a Global Digital Cultures (GDC) seed grant award, as PI on the trans-Pacific research project "P(R)OTESTAS: The Politics and Aesthetics of Digital Authoritarianism and Protest in the Global South" in collaboration with anthropologist Yatun Sastramidjaja and film studies PhD student Luisa Gonzalez Valencia. Updates on this research project can be found here.
In 2019-20, Julienne also co-organised the ILLICITIES City-Making and Organised Crime project, set up by Frank Müller at the Centre for Urban Studies. We hosted an "Emergent Conversation" blog on the Political and Legal Anthropology Review website in 2021, and published a special issue with the Journal for Illicit Economies and Development in 2022.
At present (2024) Julienne also collaborates with dr. Laurens Bakker (Anthropology) and dr. Pepijn Neerijnen (Business Studies) as a supervisor on the Undocumented Migrant Entrepreneurs project, funded with an UvA Fair & Resilient Societies seed grant.
Julienne is open to (co-)supervise MA/MSc and PhD projects in the areas of social/political anthropology, critical criminology and/or gender studies on themes related to imprisonment; policing/crime control/criminalization; governance; corruption; violence; authoritarianism; migration; and/or (intersectional approaches to) gender/sexuality, preferably from an ethnographic perspective (can also be digital) and/or with a regional focus on Latin America or Central America. Feel free to reach out for a talk!
My current PhD students are Mario Araya Pérez, Luisa González Valencia, Geraldine Lamadrid Guerrero, Antonia McGrath, and Evi Kostner.