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. She is the current co-convener of the Anthropology of Confinement Network, founding member of the Red de Investigación Penitenciaria de las Américas (APRN-RISPA), and co-organizer of the Global Prisons Research Network. Between 2009 and 2016 she conducted 31 months of field research in Nicaragua with prisoners and former prisoners of three prison facilities. In 2019 she was visiting fellow to the University of Cambridge Institute of Criminology’s Prisons Research Centre (PRC).
Research interests & projects
Julienne is much interested in the politics of (dis)order and the entanglement of violence with governance. 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’.
At present, following the 2018 anti-government protests, Julienne is conducting research on practices of (state) violence and authoritarianism in Nicaragua. 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 confinement in Nicaragua today. In particular, it investigates the government’s strategies of repression and negotiation, as well as its crisis in legitimacy at the hand of its para-state organization, while also seeking to understand the protesters’ divergent claims to the state under the banner of 'justicia'. In doing so, it focuses on three areas:
In 2021, with a Global Digital Cultures (GDC) seed grant award, Julienne also started the project "P(R)OTESTAS: The Politics and Aesthetics of Digital Authoritarianism and Protest in the Global South" together with anthropologist Yatun Sastramidjaja and film studies PhD student Luisa Gonzalez Valencia. Updates on this research project can be found here.
Julienne is also co-organiser of the ILLICITIES City-Making and Organised Crime project set up by Frank Muller of the Centre for Urban Studies. We currently host an "Emergent Conversation" blog on the Political and Legal Anthropology journal website. At this moment, we have an open call for abstracts for a special issue with the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development (deadline for abstract submissions 20 May 2021).
Julienne is open to (co-)supervise MA/MSc and PhD projects in the areas of social/political anthropology, critical criminology and/or international development 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!