Current PhD candidates at CEDLA

  • Irene Arends (2016 – 2020)
    Youth Practices and Social Media in Chile: An Ethnography of Young People`s Gender Negotiations in Everyday Digital (Sexual) Peer Cultures
    Supervisors: Prof. Michiel Baud and Dr. Annelou Ypeij

    Irene’s research project investigates how young people in Chile use social media to give meaning to and negotiate gender and sexuality. This feminist informed research concerns the anthropology of youth and uses both digital and in-person ethnography. It explores for example what the practice of making, posting and commenting on ‘sexy selfies’ can tell us about the constantly shifting boundaries of femininities and masculinities and how the meaning of gender is inflicted by sexuality, and vice versa. Moreover, this project looks at how various gender enactments (e.g. sex, love and relationship talk, sharing nudes, showing affection and the body) are incorporated in feminine and masculine domains and what this does to inter- and cross gender relations in general. Irene has a bachelor in Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies and a master in International Development Studies. She briefly worked in the NGO sector and later started as a junior teacher at the Interdisciplinary Social Sciences of the UvA, where she began specializing in youth cultures. She started her PhD research at CEDLA in March 2016. Irene is chair of the Dutch PhD Forum on Latin America (OLA) and she is a board member of the Dutch Association for Gender Studies and Feminist Anthropology (LOVA).

  • Cristina Bastidas Redin (2014-2018)
    Bolivia and Ecuador: A Comparison of Ten Years of Democratic Revolution
    Supervisors: Prof. Michiel Baud and Dr. Ton Salman (VU University Amsterdam)

    After arriving at CEDLA in September, Cristina Bastidas started to prepare her research proposal. Her PhD research will focus on the main changes that have occurred since the installation of the left turn in Bolivia and Ecuador. Based on theories that focus on collective actors and participation and that recognize that social actors play an important role in the consolidation of democracy and also taking into account the social dimension of democracy, this research will try to understand how these social actors have shaped a post-neoliberalist context. It will investigate what are the main political and collective projects that have appeared during the last eight years and which are the main differences between actors, projects and their interactions in Bolivia and Ecuador. Although Bolivia and Ecuador have been analyzed as part of the ‘radical left turn’ in Latin America, the comparative method will try to explain the different outcomes of Bolivia and Ecuador based on the different actors and projects that shaped these two process. The research will use quantitative data to understand the main tendencies in the opinion of the citizens expressed in the polls and also a qualitative research to understand the perspectives of organized groups in the Bolivian and Ecuadorian societies that are part of contemporary political process as well as the main challengers and contested ones. The research assumes that people and the ways they organize are the ingredients of democratic institutions.

  • Irene van den Bogaardt (2019-2025)
    Youth appropriation of Latin American urban public spaces through a commoning lens
    Supervisors: Prof. Barbara Hogenboom and Dr. Ir. Christien Klaufus

    This research aims to provide insight into the tension between ongoing privatisation in Latin American cities and youth claiming rights to urban public spaces that drive societal and spatial transformations. This can either reinforce conflicts and power relations, but also generate new forms of youth’s re-commoning practices to challenge public and private spatial urban planning and governance. Learning from Latin American youth’s self-created commoning practices in urban spaces is crucial for future spatial urban governance. This qualitative and comparative research will use empirical evidence of the micro-level dynamics of everyday life practices, initiatives, struggles and resistances of self-defined youth groups in urban Arequipa (Peru) and Cochabamba (Bolivia) through a commoning lens. This research is funded by NWO with a doctoral grant for teachers. Irene began her PhD research in April 2019 and she also works part-time as a Geography and Spanish teacher at a Dutch secondary school (havo and vwo). The research is relevant for Dutch geography education, as South America (vwo) and, Brazil (havo) are selected exam regions in Dutch secondary geography education.

  • Mirtha Lorena del Castillo (2019 – 2023)
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    Supervisors: Dr. Christien Klaufus and Dr. Barbara Hogenboom

    After graduating from CEDLA's master's program in 2017, Lorena was part of the CEDLA's internship program: Young Excellent Scholars. During her internship, Lorena prepared her PhD research proposal. The focus of her research is primarily on the socio-spatial effects triggered by the recent adoption of housing systems in Latin American cities, where the real estate business has become the leading designer. The aim of her research is to explore the links between housing systems, the social-spatial restructuring of cities and residents' responses to the latter using "the right to housing" as an analytical approach. Recently, housing studies suggest broader interpretations of "the right to housing" that are not reduced to measuring the effectiveness of housing provision programs for the poor, but rather also examine the relationship between housing, habitat, sociability patterns and cultural expressions. Likewise, housing studies are exploring how, through this concept, bottom-up initiatives develop narratives and practices aimed at reacting to socio-spatial injustices resulting from the spatial order imposed by real estate markets. The study will use a mixed method approach and will be carried out in Bogota and Lima, both considered important metropolises in the midst of urban restructuring as a result of an unprecedented real estate boom.

  • Bibiana Duarte Abadia (2015-2019)
    Hydrosocial Imaginaries, Territorial Transformations and Water Justice Struggles in Colombia and Spain
    Supervisors: Michiel Baud and Rutgerd Boelens

    The coloniality of power (Quijano, 2007) has produced specific modes of knowing and producing knowledge over management of the socio-nature world. As a result, other world views are being relegated to the domains of backwardness, non-knowledge and superstition. The history of the Andalucía region in Spain and the middle basin of the river Magdalena, Colombia show how paradigms of modernity/rationality, represented in hydro-social imaginaries- have triggered the transformation of these territories through the implementation of modern mega hydraulic infrastructure and the deconstruction of traditional local water management. Often, utopian-like hydro-social imaginaries are created under and legitimized by crisis situations and pursue an ideal societal situation, to be realized through a ‘pure’, unspoiled new sociotechnical and political-ecological order excluding anomalies. In this way, modernist notions of progress, desires of purity, violent exclusions and repressions, and commensurability of valuation languages are arranged so as to materialize these hydro-social imaginaries. As a result, an often mono-disciplinary, economist and engineering-dominated approach encourages water control practices at the local level and reinforces the power expansion of the state and transnational companies. The socio-enviromental impacts of these changes are unevenly distributed among different social groups and define process of exclusion, accumulation and dispossession regarding water access and control. This research is based on a political ecology approach and focuses on understanding the reconfigurations of hydro-social territories in the Guadalhorce basin, Málaga Province, Spain and in the Sogamoso and Lebrija river basin, Santander Department, Colombia. In a comparative study of these transformation process I will trace back the historical thought regarding the hydro-social imaginaries that have influenced water governance discourses and the construction of hydraulic infrastructure and territorial conservation policies during nineteenth, twentieth and current century. Likewise, this research will explore the ways in which people strategize to shape alternative political ecologies, rebuilding socio-ecological identities and culturalecological differences by means of breaking normalization circles, liberating knowledge production from neo-colonial, utopian-modernist schemes, and escaping from governmentality processes. Bibiana is an ecologist, she did her Masters in International land and water management at Wageningen University , she worked as researcher at Alexander von Humboldt Institute, Biological Resources, Bogotá, Colombia. Bibiana started her PhD in September, 2015 and in May she will submit her PhD research proposal.

  • Lucia Galarza Suárez (2014-2018)
    Undoing toxic relations: reconfiguring gender, nature and cultural change in the southern coasts of Ecuador
    Supervisors: Michiel Baud and Rutgerd Boelens

    This PhD project takes an ethnographic approach to examine the complex interconnections between environmental transformations and cultural changes in Ecuador, focusing on two case studies located among banana plantations and shrimp farms in the southern province of El Oro. Triggered by a growing trend to commoditize nature and remodel agricultural and aquaculture practices along the lines of modern scientific design and global market demands, monocultures continue to colonize the biodiverse landscapes of the southern coastal plains expanding into the mangrove forests of the Archipelago of Jambelí. Meanwhile, vernacular knowledge systems and ways of life are driven to adapt and resist the discourses and practices of modern capitalist development. As a result of these multiple interactions that connect both human and nonhuman actors in mutually constituting networks, environmental problems continue to rise while social inequalities remain unresolved. In addition, the scarce literature available suggests that inequalities have strong gendered elements – a problematic that this research sets out to unpack. Drawing from the fields of political ecology, feminism, science and technology studies and post-colonialism, this research conceptualizes modern capitalist development as a political, economic, social, ecological and cultural project. It seeks to interrogate the effects of such a project on the emergence of alternatives for the future in Ecuador’s reconfigured landscapes. Lucía began her PhD research in October 2014 and completed a period of fourteen months of fieldwork in December 2015.

  • Barbara Haenen
    Nation-building on the periphery: state and church in the Colombian and Peruvian Amazon
    Supervisor: Prof. Michiel Baud

    This research project focuses on the Amazonian border region shared by Colombia and Peru in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. It focuses on the interplay between the state and religious orders in the constitution of this border region where two nation-states aimed at implementing their administrative order. Barbara is particularly interested in understanding the role of foreign missionary orders of the Catholic Church in this process. Through archival research and historical fieldwork, she aims to understand the role of these different actors. The project thus seeks to complicate the religious/secular narrative of power, state and the community.
    This historical project is financed by the Slicher van Bath-de Jong foundation.
    Barbara Haenen arrived at CEDLA in December 2018. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in European Studies at the University of Maastricht, and completed her master’s degree at Leiden University, after carrying out thesis research in the southern Colombian Amazon.

  • Juan Pablo Hidalgo BastidasJuan Pablo Hidalgo (2013-2017)
    Reconfiguration of Hydrosocial Territories in Ecuador:
    Power Relations and Multipurpose Hydraulic Projects
    Supervisors: Prof. Michiel Baud and Prof. Rutgerd Boelens

    In Ecuador, as in other places in Latin America, the implementation of mega-hydraulic projects such as multipurpose ones is highly controversial and contested at local, national and international arenas. Their intrinsic socio-ecological and political-technological characteristics exert an enormous influence over hydro-social territories, tending to reproduce socio-environmental inequities.
    Multipurpose hydraulic projects (MHPs) are likely to cause socio-environmental conflicts and reconfigure waterscapes as the direct result of uneven power relations. On the one hand, megaprojects are visibly underpinned by utilitarian state structures, market-based norms, scientific-expert knowledge and technocratic governmental discourses that naturalize notions of hydro-social territories as technical and a-political construction. On the other, local peoples claim and practice different and generally divergent socio-cultural, economic, legal, and political notions of hydro-social territoriality. Despite the controversy and conflict that this type of hydraulic projects entail, Ecuador has enthusiastically embraced the idea of hydraulic modernization driven by technocratic and expert discourses that link MHPs with clean energy, economic development, and industrialization. The aim of this research is to unpack both the power relations that shape MHPs implementation and to bring to the front the dominant and alternative discourses and practices that underlie the reconfiguration of hydro-social territories. By doing so, this project would open spaces for debate which make alternative notions of hydro-social territoriality countable for a more just and democratic water governance around mega-hydraulic projects. Juan Pablo finished his PhD research proposal in May 2014 and it was approved by AISSR in September. Meanwhile, he went to Ecuador – from June to September – in order to carry out field research in the Daule-Peripa MHP. In September he went to Valencia, Spain to participate in the Congress ‘Irrigation, Society and Territory’ with the conference paper: ‘Sistema Multipropósito de Agua Daule-Peripa: Una Reconfiguración Tecnocrática del Territorio Hidro-Social y Despojo en la Costa Ecuatoriana’. In November he went back to Ecuador in order to research on the second case study: Chone Multipurpose Hydraulic Project. Currently he is doing field work which finishes in May 2015, doing action-research with the grassroots in the Daule-Peripa MHP.

  • Geraldine Lamadrid Guerrero (2015-2019)
    Title of Proyect: Defying violence through art in political memory construction, Latin America beginnig of the 21st century
    Supervisor: Dr. Arij Ouweneel

    This PhD project focuses on the cultural processes of political memory construction through artistic practices. The general objective is to make a qualitative and comparative study between three to four Latin American experiences that are part of social movements life, in which art represents a means to be part of political memory construction in specific communities and at the same time a way to define their own peace culture. All of these actions are guided towards political violence contestation. I would like to highlight the particularities of each one of the experiences selected for this analysis, in order to show how every context has its own necessities and at the same time it is possible that they share a common ground, which is defined by the potentialities that art as a human development tool offers to those who are challenged by political violence harms in order to create nonviolent resistance practices. I recover Laurence Cox academical statement to guide the critical reflection on this topic and if possible to prove that “[...] visible social movements from below represent the elaboration and articulation of everyday ways of doing things which cut against the grain of dominant social relationships, and that these oppositional popular cultures can be connected and extended into more direct challenges”.

  • Christian Esteban Ramírez Hincapié (2015-2019)
    Children Audiovisual Production in a War Zone area in the South of Colombia
    Supervisor: Dr. Arij Ouweneel

    Co-supervisor: Dr. Christien Klaufus

  • War does not exhaust at all. Neither people’s imagination, its social fabric, nor the willingness to overcome any vicissitude that armed conflict bring about to community’s social lives. This PhD project at CEDLA pretends to focus on how community’s in armed conflict areas in Colombia use media technologies to create life projects among young people. Unalike the regular ones offered by the war industry. By focusing on the social aspects that surround the audiovisual production of a community media project based in the south of Colombia (Belén de los Andaquíes Children’s Audiovisual School – EAIBA-), the PhD project will follow children’s own social processes when producing, socializing and recounting their own stories through the audiovisuals they produce at EAIBA. This research also attempts to add critical elements to the theoretical discussion in the growing field of Communication for Social Change by incorporating children as relevant actors as they perform as media content producers, and to investigate how the processes of recounting stories allows children to become – and be considered – valuable cultural agents within their own communities.

  • Tatiana Roa Avendaño (2017-2021)
    ''The path from resistance towards alternatives to development. Three Colombian experiences”
    Supervisors: Dr. Barbara Hogenboom and Prof. Rutgerd Boelens

    In her PhD project, Tatiana analyzes proposals that emerge in the midst of the struggle for the defense of the territory and that interpellate the dominant order. The research involves three Colombian regions, belonging to two departments (Santander and Córdoba), where local communities (fishermen, peasants, urban dwellers, fish sellers) suffer the onslaught of agro-industrial projects, dams and mining, also called development projects. This research aims to contribute to debates related with the territory, territoriality and territorialization, extractivism and post-extractivism, and alternatives to development in Latin America. Tatiana is a Colombian activist, active member of the environmental organization Censat Agua Viva - Friends of the Earth Colombia, of which she was director and general coordinator for several years. She has participated in various international and national organizations, networks and social movements, including FOEI, Oilwatch, the Ríos Vivos Movement and the Free Colombia Fracking Alliance. She is involved in several research groups, including the Alliance for Water Justice, the Permanent Group of Alternatives to Development, EJOLT, and CLACSO working groups. During her time at the academy, she is interested in deepening her reflections and analysis of almost three decades of popular activism, in light of the aforementioned theoretical debates and attempting a new reading of these experiences.

  • Gabriela Russo Lopes (2019 – 2022)
    Agency in the Amazonian Forest Governance
    Supervisors: Prof. Barbara Hogenboom and Prof. Fabio de Castro

    Gabriela’s project analyses agency in Amazonian forest governance, through mechanisms of concentration and distribution of natural resources as well as material and symbolic power relations. Gabriela focuses her empirical work on the MAP triple-frontier region, which gathers the states of Madre de Dios in Peru, Acre in Brazil and Pando in Bolivia, collaboratively working within the project Amazonian Governance to Enable Transformations to Sustainability (AGENTS). She holds a MSc degree in Geography from the Stockholm University (2017) and a BA in International Relations from the Pontifical Catholic University from of Rio de Janeiro (2011). She has held positions at the Brazilian Mission to the UN, in Geneva, the Worldwatch Institute in Washington DC, and most recently at the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), in Brasilia, as a researcher and project manager. Her broad field of inquiry is related to land use dynamics in the Amazon and the Cerrado, sustainability in supply-chains, multistakeholder governance, socio-ecological resilience and environmental governance.

  • Lieke Prins (2019-2023)
    Creative Hangouts in Urban Spaces: Unravelling and creating socially and politically driven street art in Colombia and the Netherlands
    Supervisors: Dr. Arij Ouweneel and Dr. Ir. Christien Klaufus

    Worldwide, a shift has taken place in the appreciation and development of street art. The former illegal practice has become an appreciated art form, connecting people from different socioeconomic backgrounds; changing and giving new meaning to the (physical) public space; rearranging power relations; provoking debates on art and vandalism; and giving artists new possibilities to criticize the status quo and express their social imaginaries. As a street artist herself, Lieke takes position next to her research participants and observes and analyzes the social world from the inside out. This comparative and complementary ethnographic study, investigates the notions of culture, identity, gender, and public space in Colombia and the Netherlands; and discusses the perceptions and motives of the people involved in the process of creation to reception of street art.

  • Alexis SossaAlexis Sossa Rojas (2014-2018)
    Working Out in Gyms. An Ethnographic Comparison of Practices, Meanings and Experiences in
    Gym Culture in Santiago de Chile and Amsterdam
    Supervisors: Prof. Michiel Baud and Dr. Annelou Ypeij

    Alexis Sossa started his PhD project at CEDLA in September. On the basis of his previous research in Santiago, Alexis will compare gym culture in two major cities in two different regions of the world: Santiago de Chile and Amsterdam. His aim is to compare the varied forms in which fitness is embedded in local urban culture by looking at practices, meanings and experiences from people who work out. The interesting and often hidden relationship between culture, body and society is the motivation for this research. By focusing on people who attend gyms and fitness clubs, the project hopes to increase our understanding of the different contextual practices of attendance and the cultural implications of these differences. The comparative approach will be applied both within the two cities, where a great social and cultural diversity of fitness use exists, and between the two cities. The dissertation will use a qualitative, ethnographic approach in which the practices, meanings, experiences and imageries of gym users in different fitness clubs will be studied and compared. During the first stage of this research project an analytical framework was designed which will enable the comparison of different cultural practices. On the basis of this framework, views of health, gender, beauty and the body academic will be studied, analyzed and compared.

  • Karolien van TeijlingenKarolien van Teijlingen (2014 – 2017)
    The Governance of the Mining-Development Nexus:
    A Political Ecology of the Mirador Mine in the Ecuadorian Amazon region.
    Supervisors: Prof. Michiel Baud and Dr. Barbara Hogenboom

    This PhD research project analyzes the expansion of extractive industries towards new mining frontiers in Latin America, particularly the Amazon region. As large-scale mining operations cause considerable impacts to the landscapes and development trajectories of the regions in which they take place, mining and its relation to sub-national development have become ‘hot topics’ in both societal and academic debates. The public, private and civil society actors involved in the governance of the mining-development nexus in these regions hold different (and sometimes incommensurable) conceptualizations of development and territory, basing themselves on different sets of interests, knowledges and values. This has made these mining frontier regions into terrains of conflictive as well as more collaborative interactions through which these actors seek to promote and materialize their view of the mining-development nexus. This research aims to understand the interactive governance processes through which certain views and discourses on mining, development and territory gain importance over others and how these processes reconfigure the complex territories in which mining takes place. The Mirador copper mining project in Zamora Chinchipe - Ecuador, will be the main case-study of the research. A political ecology approach implies focusing on political spaces and the power mechanisms at play, as well as the patterns of inclusions and exclusions that are (re)produced in the course of this process. More generally, this research also aims to contribute to scholarship on the political ecology of extraction, environmental governance and post-neoliberal development in Latin America. Karolien began her PhD research in January 2014. During the first eight months of the year she carried out a literature review and wrote her research proposal, which she presented and discussed at various seminars. In September 2014 she travelled to Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador to start her first five-month fieldwork period.

  • Laura Ximena Triana Gallego (2018-2021)
    From Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta to Bogotá: Cultural agency and political achievements from indigenous communities in visual narratives
    Supervisors: Dr. Arij Ouweneel and Dr. Fabio de Castro

    Laura started a PhD project related to the indigenous communities in Colombia, particularly to the ways in which they exercise forms of cultural agency in order to overcome external challenges and political adversity. The research compare two indigenous groups that have relatively recently embraced audiovisual tools and integrated them into their political and social processes. The first of these is the wiwa community of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, who have entered into a process of reviving their traditional music in an attempt to strengthen community bonds. The second is the committee of indigenous women of Bogotá, who come from different regions of the country but currently live in Bogotá due to circumstances related to the armed conflict. They engage in activities of cultural revival such as weaving, dancing and traditional music. Through modern media such as video these communities are able to effectively express their experiences, perceptions and current conditions in the face of adverse political policies. In the case of the wiwa, who are geographically located in the area around the Ranchería river, video is used as a tool for the preservation of memory and the transmission of knowledge through music. It has also served as a medium to criticize political acts of intervention in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta region. The district committee of indigenous women, on the other hand, is the first space developed to improve the political participation of indigenous women in Bogotá. Instruction in the use of audiovisual tools provides the women with a means to highlight their voices, once silenced, and share their experience of discrimination in the context of the city. These appropriations of audiovisual tools by indigenous communities are instances of an ongoing process. Thus, it is relevant to explore them further, as they represent the development and transformation of cultural agency, which is enhanced by the introduction of audiovisual narrative tools. At the same time these tools serve an important political function for the communities in the context of the peace and post-conflict process in Colombia and even more broadly throughout Latin America.

  • Carolina Valladares Pasquel (2018-2021)
    The politics of ideas for leaving fossil fuels underground
    The cases of Ecuador and The Netherlands
    Supervisors: Dr. Barbara Hogenboom and Prof. Rutgerd Boelens

    Carolina’s research is part of the project “Leave fossil fuels underground for sustainable and inclusive development: Co-creating alternative pathways in Africa and Latin America”. Her research focuses on the dynamics bringing ´Leave Fossil Fuels Underground´(LFFU) ideas into political action in Ecuador and The Netherlands. It aims to explore the different features of social mobilization, state-citizen relations, notions of development and multi-scalar politics involved in the contestation of oil extraction in the Ecuadorian North Amazon and gas extraction in the Dutch province of Groningen. In both countries the LFFU campaigns led to concrete national (and global) actions: in Ecuador the proposal Yasuní-ITT (later on cancelled) and in The Netherlands the government’s decision to halt gas extraction by 2030. The different socio-economic and political structures of both countries and the role fossil fuels play in their economies will inform on the parallels and difference between both experiences and lessons to learn for strengthening the strategies for LFFU. Carolina’s fields of interest relate to political ecology, extractivism, rights of nature, cultural politics and social mobilization.