Excellent PhD Students and graduate students (intending to do a PhD) from The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Latin America affiliated to a Dutch university are invited to submit an application.

Requirements for Eligibility
• Candidates must submit a research proposal for a three month research project that makes a valuable contribution to the international economic, political, or cultural relations between the Netherlands/Europe and Latin America.
• Candidates are supposed to master either the Spanish or Portuguese language, as they will have to present their research proposal in Spanish or Portuguese during the ceremony for the award of the scholarships.

The application should include:
• A research proposal in English. Besides an outline of the project, the research proposal itself (max. 4,000 words) should include a clear description of the intended method, a short bibliography, an estimation of the costs to be incurred and the expected results.
• Letter of recommendation by a professor, or senior researcher.
• C.V.
• Proof of affiliation to Dutch university (either a proof of registration or a diploma)

Applications must be submitted by e-mail before 25 October 2019 to the following address:


The Prince Bernhard Scholarships were established in 1991 by the Foundation “The Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Institute”, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the late Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The programme has also been financially supported by the University of Utrecht and CEDLA. Each year two scholarships of 5,000 euros are awarded to promising young researchers from the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, or Latin America. From 2019, to be eligible the applicants will have to be affiliated to a Dutch academic institution.

The scholarships aim to support innovative research carried out in the fields of economic, political, or cultural relations between the Netherlands/Europe and Latin America. At least one of the scholarships will be awarded to a research proposal in the field of sustainability. The proposed sustainability research project should be related to social, legal, economic or environmental aspects of the following topics:

• Climate change
• Biological mechanisms and changes
• Energy for sustainable development
• Land use dynamics and land use planning
• Ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation


The selection of the scholarship winners will be decided upon by a Scientific Board, consisting of:
Dr. Christien Klaufus (CEDLA/University of Amsterdam), Chair
Carolina Valladares (PhD candidate, CEDLA)
Prof. dr. Patricio Silva (Leiden University)
Dr. Gery Nijenhuis (Utrecht University)
Prof. dr. Kees Koonings (University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University)

The research proposals will be evaluated on scientific relevance, its innovative aspects, the research method and planning and its feasibility. The winners of the scholarships will be notified before 20 December 2019. The scholarships will be officially awarded by Prince Bernard’s grandson, Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, during an award ceremony that will be scheduled in the first half of 2020.


The ceremony will be attended by the Board of the Foundation, as well as by the members of the Scientific Board, authorities of CEDLA, and the ambassadors of Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal. During this ceremony the winners of the Prince Bernhard Scholarships are expected to give a short presentation on their research project.

For further questions please contact CEDLA’s secretariat at or +31 20 525 3498.


  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012

Land, Windmills and Social Difference: Twenty Years of Change in La Venta, Mexico
Gerardo Torres Contreras

This research projects asks how patterns of social differentiation, centred on land ownership, have evolved over 25 years in La Venta – first town to host a wind farm in Latin America - as a result of wind energy investments. By analysing data on de-regularised land and by drawing on 40 interviews, this research will argue that wind energy has accelerated patterns of social differentiation in two respects: among landowners and between landowners and landless people. Wind energy has exacerbated social differentiation because it relies on previous land inequalities. While landowners with more than 20 hectares are able to combine windmills with investments in agriculture and cattle grazing, those with less than 20 hectares utilise the income from wind energy for basic needs, while others have been obliged to sell some of their land to support the household. By contrast, those without land have benefited from the investments, depending on their engagement with the urban economy. The wind energy industry has resulted in a local boom in non-farm activities and opportunities for employment and service provision. Again, this pattern is differentiated. While some have been able to explore successful business ventures in town, others have been forced to migrate. The research will therefore argue that wind energy development in La Venta has resulted in different material and social relationships between local people and wind energy, with actors benefitting (or not) in various ways, linked to patterns of social differentiation.

The park where dancing is forbidden Newly arrived residents versus long-term residents competing for the use of public space, Lima - 2018
Mirtha Lorena del Castillo

Lorena's research examines the process of gentrification, not from the perspective of residential expulsion, but from the capture and resignification of public space. Specifically, it addresses the struggles between different social groups seeking to gain control of public space in the central areas of Lima in the wake of the real estate boom (2007-2017). The study analyzes the case of the Castilla Park, located in Lince, an inner-city district traditionally inhabited by middle and lower-middle income sectors. A change in zoning regulations allowed the construction of high-rise luxury condominiums around the park triggering the arrival of more affluent residents who began to share the public space with their less affluent neighbors. The study reveals the conflict that followed the municipal authorities' decision to prohibit recreational activities in the park (such as dancing). In the conflict, two opposing rationales prevailed over the use of the park: the first, which advocated the preservation of green areas and the imposition of greater public order for the so-called safety and tranquility of all residents; and the second, which claimed the right to use the park as a multifunctional free public space. The aim of the research is to explore the arguments that underlie these rationales as well as the strategies of multiple social groups to compete for control of public space after processes of real estate renewal. The study examines how gentrification processes affect daily activities of less affluent social groups in Latin American cities and also reveals new ways of redefining citizenship and confronting dominant urban logics through the vindication of spatial rights.

Raquel Salinas PeixotoUnravelling the detention of child migrants at the southern Mexican border
Raquel Salinas Peixoto

The southern Mexican border has been increasingly militarized under the Plan Frontera Sur since 2014 and is the scenario of the majority of the detention of child migrants in Mexico and in Latin America. Mexican legal texts adopt a human rights approach to migratory control, as Mexican Migration Law states the principle of respect for the human rights of migrants and that ‘in no way, the irregular migratory situation will be considered a criminal offense’. Children are mentioned in the Migration Law as special subjects of protection under Article 29. However, local and international NGOs reported that child migrants suffered from a punitive confinement in migratory detention. The aim of this research is to analyze the discourses and practices of legality, justice, and violence among relevant actors at the Southern Mexican border region regarding migration-related detention of children. This research is designed to combine ethnographic and legal empirical methods for data collection, in order to enable a border-localized understanding of the subject matter. By doing so, it will enable an anthropological study of child migrant’s and rights in the case of migratory detention from a local instance. From a broader perspective, this analysis will try to contribute to studies on the spatialization of (in)justice, legal consciousness, crimmigration and violence in Latin America, particularly considering the most vulnerable.

Floor van der HoutIntersections of Gender, Ethnicity and Class in Bolivia
Indigenous Women in the TIPNIS conflict
Floor van der Hout

This research project explores how gender, ethnicity and class are intertwined in conflicts around development and natural resource use in Latin America. It does so through an in-depth case study focusing on the role of indigenous women in the so-called TIPNIS controversy: the contested construction of the Villa Tunari-San Ignacio de Moxos highway through the indigenous territory and national park of TIPNIS, Bolivia. In Latin America, indigenous women are at the forefront of activism against large-scale development projects that endanger their livelihoods. However, academic attention for these women has been remarkably absent and their struggles largely invisible. The intersections of ethnicity, gender and class put these women in underprivileged positions, both inciting their struggle for social change and limiting their room for maneuver. This research project aims at understanding how these intersections shape the women's activism. Reciprocity and responsibility towards the research participants occupy a central place in the project and as part of the ethnographic design collaborative and participatory research methods will be employed.

Floor van der Hout is a graduate in cultural anthropology (Utrecht University, 2017). She conducted fieldwork in The Philippines, Peru, and Bolivia, focusing on political anthropology, indigenous struggles, development and gender.

Luisa Machacón

On November of 2016, was signed the firm of the Integral, final and definitive agreement for peace between the insurgent and the Colombian government. This peace negotiation in terms of inclusion allowed the victims to be active participants of the transitional justice decision-making processes. Taking into consideration the previous aspects, the introduction of victims as representatives of civil society and the allocation of a role in the peace talks made this a unique case in Latin America. Nonetheless, during the current implementation phase, victims seem to have little space for participation and there is an evident increase of systematic violence against civic leaders. The fieldwork done from January until April of 2017 in the Caribbean coast and Santa Fé de Bogotá (Colombia), tries to contribute to a deeper understanding of the role of victims of the Colombian conflict in the implementation of transformative justice and conflict resolution. This research is based on the experiences of several members of the victims’ delegation, members from FARC delegation, local leaders and politicians.


Nick Middeldorp‘’Without our land, we is nothing’’: the Rama people, indigenous citizenship, and territorial rights claims in the context of settler invasions and the Nicaragua Canal
Nick Middeldorp

This research aims to understand how the Rama, the smallest indigenous group of Nicaragua’s South Caribbean Autonomous Region, experience the ‘defense of territory’ in the context of strong outside pressures to acquire communally titled Rama land. Illegal settlers, numbering many times the Rama, are pushing ‘’the agricultural frontier’’ into Rama territory. Meanwhile, government plans to build an Inter-oceanic Canal would divide the territory in two and displace the last community where the ancestral language is still spoken. This ethnographic research project, grounded in collaboration with local actors, analyzes how through these pressures and through practices of cooperation and resistance differentiated indigenous citizenship rights are both claimed and discarded by the different parties. The Rama population itself stands divided: some Rama leaders have chosen to cooperate with the Nicaraguan Government and its plans to build an Inter-oceanic Canal, believing the project will take out the illegal settlers; whilst others have allied themselves with the settlers in their joint effort to prevent the Canal from being built. In the current turmoil and division, the future of the Rama people hangs in the balance.

Parques sin Bares!
Analysis of civic and municipal strategies in the battle over parks and plazas in Buenos Aires
Letty Reimerink

This research aims to give insight into the social movements and other parties engaged in defending public spaces in Buenos Aires.
With only 1,8 m2 of green space Buenos Aires ranks amongst the lowest in the world and is far from the minimum of 10-15 m2 per capita which the World Health Organization suggests. While academics stress the health benefits of green spaces and the importance of public spaces as places of casual encounter for sustainable urban life, public spaces in Buenos Aires are constantly threatened by privatization by the city government.
Entrance to public parks is restricted by gates and parts of parks are being sacrificed for private enterprises. One example is the ‘ley the bares’ of 2014 which permits installation of private cafés in parks. Neighbors are organizing themselves in protest.
Through in-depth interviews with neighborhood activists, NGO’s, journalist, politicians and people working within the city ministry of ‘Ambiente y Espacio Publico’, combined with observations in public space I am analyzing these battles and the network of organizations involved in what is slowly turning into a city wide protest against privatization of public space.


Sexy Selfies and Pregnant Bellies: Online-Offline Identities of Youngsters in Chile
Irene Arends


This project seeks to understand how young people in Chile (re)construct and present their gendered and sexual identities within the online-offline nexus. A particular focus will be on young people who transgress moral boundaries, either online (e.g. sexy selfies) or offline (e.g. teenage parenthood and non-heteronormativity). By studying their engagement with social media, this research tries to understand the cultural logics that underpin their particular usage; reflecting both how broader social and cultural systems affect young people’s lives as well as how they interact with these. Combining a virtual and a ‘traditional’ ethnographic approach, this research intends to shed light on the practices, meanings and experiences surrounding sexuality, family formation, pregnancies and teenage parenthood in Chile. Irene graduated cum laude with an International Development Studies thesis on the online and offline social lives of urban youth in peripheral Lima, she has worked as a junior teacher at the Department of Geography, Planning and International Development Studies (GPIO), University of Amsterdam, and started her PhD research at CEDLA in March 2016.

The rights to water and the rights of water. Exploring water injustice from the Cofán indigenous worldview in the Ecuadorian Amazon as an approach to the Rights of Nature
Carolina Valladares

The research aims to work with the Cofán indigenous nationality, in the Ecuadorian north-Amazon, to explore how their ontologies on water and territory may be recognized as valid political contenders and mobilized for defending their local territories largely affected by past and current oil extraction activities.

This has especial relevance when the Ecuadorian indigenous and peasants movements achieved the Constitutional recognition of the Rights of Nature (2008). For the first time “nature” as a subject with rights enters in the political arena, contesting a monocultural definition of “nature” and opening the possibility of pluralizing politics as power disputes among worlds.

I analyze the presence of the different ontologies about water and territory (for example, how non-human beings such as lakes or mountains take part of the social interaction) in Cofán political motives when contesting national policies that affect their territory, and how the national policy addresses them at the light of this new Constitutional guarantee conflicted with a deepening of the national extraction model.

Um Rio para todos?
Teaching and experiencing feelings of local and national belonging in primary education, among students in different socioeconomic locations of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Yke Eijkemans

This research focuses on national enculturation, on the one hand, and national and local feelings of belonging, on the other, among students in different socioeconomic contexts of the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. It starts from the viewpoint that belonging to different socioeconomic locations, both spatial and class-related, of a city that is known for deep divisions regarding access to citizenship, socio-economic status and exposure to violence has specific implications for the development of citizenship, national identification and feelings of local belonging among children. At the same time, images of what the ‘Brazilian identity’ should contain, are imposed on citizens in both education and politics. Within this study the classroom is seen as a place where taught and learned hegemonic notions of national identity and belonging interact with the agency of teachers and students in their local perceptions and expressions of these ideals, related to the different socioeconomic locations.

During the project three case studies will be conducted, in which private, middle class and lower class schools are compared. The use of both quantitative and various qualitative research methods – questionnaires, participant observation, content analysis, visual and digital ethnographic methods – both optimally utilizes contemporary methodological opportunities and serves an educational purpose for the students. The gathering of visual material the students produce will result in class-websites, made by the children themselves.

  • Laguna de Chicabal, in the Western highlands of Guatemala, processes of constructing territorial narratives
    By Gijs Cremers

  • This research analyzes how actors near Laguna de Chicabal, in the Western highlands of Guatemala, engage in processes of constructing territorial narratives ‘from below’ at the junction of the territorialization of indigenous territory and local practices and meanings of places that have been labelled as ‘sacred’ by the local indigenous population. Territorial narratives are accounts with a clear territorial aspect for those who compose the narrative. Along these lines, different actors ascribe sociocultural and physical characteristics that support the argument of the projected narrative with the intention of gaining ‘control’ over the territory. In Guatemala, such narratives are constructed by both global and local actors, such as indigenous communities, conservation activists, and (eco)tourists and all of these develop different claims to the territory. This raises questions about the relation between globalization and local issues such as land distribution and local power relations; about which sociocultural and political dynamics arise when ‘global meets local’, and how these processes inform and assemble globalization.

    The study revolves around two main concepts, ‘territorial narratives’ and ‘friction’. Friction can be described as elements that influence processes of globalization in a certain community as defined by its network of global relations, the interconnected relations and networks of a variety of ‘particulars’ (local actors) and ‘universals’ (global connectors). Friction thus occurs when different actors give different meanings to a certain area and generate a variety of narratives in order to ‘claim’ that particular territory. The relevance of studying such processes at natural sacred sites in relation to what I call ecospiritual livelhoods lies in the fact that indigenous peoples often advocate a strong connection with (self)declared sacred territory (e.g. volcanoes, lakes, mountaintops) in their claim-making. Practical implementation of spiritual rights as a political act and the influence of ecotourism and resource extraction challenge assumptions about the role of globalizing and political processes and opens up new avenues to the research of sacred territories and ecotourism. Focussing on indigenous ecological narratives, created ‘from below’, will provide a deeper understanding about the relation between globalization and everyday life.

    From January onwards I will start reading relevant literature and focussing my research proposal on the first fieldwork. I will start my fieldwork in Guatemala (Quetzaltenango area – Laguna Chicabal) in July 2014 after teaching several courses at Wageningen UR. Once in the field I will ‘move inside’: documenting the complex local situation and gathering data. Furthermore I will search for people who can teach me basic skills in Mam, the local language, which I will improve once I arrive in Santa Maria Sacatepéquez. I intend to contact local NGO’s and other relevant organisations before and during my fieldwork. The fieldwork will continue until November 2014 and shortly after wrapping up I will start writing on an article and try to get it published.

    A sweet or bitter alliance?
    Different identities, expectations and narratives enclosed in regional movements against Genetically Modified Soy. The representation of smallholder Mayan beekeepers in Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico.
    By Karen Hudlet Vázquez

    The representation of smallholder Mayan beekeepers in Yucatan Peninsula, MexicoThis research project analyses how social movements represent the different interests of rural stakeholders regarding Genetic Modified Soy cultivation in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. The study connects European policies and norms regarding Genetically Modified Crops (GMC) with its socio-economic impacts on the livelihoods of indigenous communities, beekeepers, honey producers and smallholder farmers in the South. In order to do so, it focuses on the value chains of organic honey, the changes on the livelihoods strategies and development expectations of Mayan communities and the collective forms of engaging, coping and/or resisting the cultivation of GMC. As more permits are being granted to transnational enterprises for the cultivation of GMC, local struggles are increasingly taking place. Thus, there is a need to understand better how social movements represent different voices, the frames and narratives that are being used, and the means for scaling up demands. The project also seeks to bring together social movements and economic development theories by contrasting the position of different actors in the value chains of the cultivation and commercialization of honey, including the production for exporting to the European market, with their role in the different scales of social mobilization.

Mind the gap: An analysis of the gender differentials in capabilities and responses to climate shocks in Ecuador
Mariela Ramirez
Master Program Sustainable Development, Utrecht University

The research is oriented towards identifying the influence of gender institutions on the ability of households to cope with climate shocks in rural communities of Ecuador. Gender system influences the adaptation choices within the household through material and non-material means, or capabilities, and therefore it shapes its ability to cope with extreme weather events. In other words, the mechanisms through which households confront climate shocks, using their available livelihoods assets and sets of knowledges, are expressed in the choices between different categories of adaptation strategies. The use of the capabilities approach in this model is based on Amartya Sen’s assertion about how social equality and inequality questions are best raised in the space of capabilities. Livelihood assets limit or facilitate the resources that allows for recovery after shocks, or a better preparation that will diminish the damage level, while consideration of men and women’s lived experiences affect strategies choices based on their different sets of knowledge and perceptions of what strategies are more effective. The influence of gender system occurs by means of the structure of men and women relationships, and the norms and rules that define that relationship. For instance, marital and inheritance regimes, posed by formal and informal regulations, affect men and women’s access to materialistic resources required to cope with climate disasters and maintain their livelihoods, such as land or credit. In the same way, it can influence non-materialistic capabilities through the different ways men and women’s experience past climate events, being in different positions of power and vulnerability to discrimination. Four rural resource-based localities will be selected, and the study will be focused n the adaptation practices used to confront a specific climatic shock during the past 5 years.

Examining responses to past climate shocks -that may or may not be directly related to climate change- can help formulating policy recommendations to reduce the limitations related to gender and to contribute to pro-equity climate change adaptation processes in the future. Mariela Ramirez is a master student at the Sustainable Development program at Utrecht University, awarded with a scholarship by the Chilean government to study in the Netherlands. She graduated as Agro-Resources Engineer, with a Diploma in Public Policies, from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile. Project coordinator of different initiatives related to production development with small farmers, in local NGO’s in Chile– Poverty Alleviation Foundation and Norte Grande Corporation- and the Universidad Austral de Chile. She worked at Rimisp - Latin American Centre for Rural Development, where she worked as a researcher and led a project on Area Based Development and Climate Change Adaptation in Mexico. She was also member of the coordination unit of the Rural Territorial Dynamics Program, where she coordinated the postgraduate training component.

María José Oomen LiebersKaren Hudlet VázquezRemesas Sociales, Relaciones de Género y Empoderamiento de la Mujer
El caso de la comunidad transnacional boliviana/ Social Remittances, Gender Relations and Women's Empowerment. The case of the Bolivian transnational community
By María José Oomen Liebers y Sarah Kunz

La presente investigación tiene como objetivo explorar el intercambio de 'remesas sociales' entre la comunidad transnacional boliviana situada tanto en Bolivia como en España. Específicamente se enfoca en la transferencia de ideas y valores que tienen el potencial de cuestionar patrones normativos que estructuran las relaciones de género patriarcales que subordinan a la mujer. El estudio conceptualiza a la comunidad transnacional boliviana como un espacio situado en el imaginario de los bolivianos y bolivianas irrelevante de su posición física y temporal. Esta conceptualización tiene por objetivo incluir dentro de la problemática migratoria a aquéllos que han dejado su lugar de origen en busca de nuevas oportunidades, tanto como los que han permanecido en Bolivia; específicamente los parientes y amigos cercanos de los que se fueron, bajo la premisa que la migración, el cambio de vida y locación física y temporal tienen el potencial de transformar la vida de estas personas. El término de 'remesas sociales' fue conceptualizado por Peggy Levitt (1998), con el objetivo de capturar el intercambio de aspectos sociales y culturales que conlleva la migración. A pesar de que la palabra 'remesa' no especifica la dirección de las transferencias entre migrantes y no migrantes, los discursos dominantes y el uso del término en el estudio de transferencias económicas ha hecho que adquiera una connotación unidireccional, particularmente de migrantes a no-migrantes. Sin embargo, el término en si no especifica una unidireccionalidad, y este estudio pretende alejarse de nociones que manifiestan la transferencia de remesas sociales como un proceso civilizador por parte de los migrantes hacia sus parientes y amigos en el lugar de origen. El estudio contesta la supuesta unidireccionalidad de las remesas sociales proponiendo que éstas son multidireccionales y producto de un diálogo que incorpora a migrantes tanto como no-migrantes.

This research aims to explore the exchange of social remittances among the Bolivian transnational community situated in both Bolivia and Spain. Specifically, it focuses on the transfer of ideas and values which have the potential of contesting gender norms that subordinate women. The study conceptualizes the Bolivian transnational community as an imagined community for all Bolivians irrespective of their physical location. This fluid conceptualization includes both migrants as well as non-migrants into the migration experience under the premise that migration, the change of location and lifetsyle, has an impact on the lives of those who leave as well as of those who stay behind. The term social remittance was coined by Peggy Levitt (1998), with the aim of capturing the 'soft' side of migration, i.e. the socio-cultural transfers among migrants and non-migrants. The term 'remittance' in itself does not specify the directionality of the transfers, however as a result of its use in studies focused on the transfer of economic remittances, it has attained a unidirectional connotation, as transfers from migrants towards non-migrants. This study steps away from dominant notions which manifest the transfers of social remittances as a civilizing process on behalf of migrants towards their relatives and friends in the place of origin. This study therefore contests the supposed uniderectionality of social remittances and conceptualizes these as multi-directional transfers and the outcome of a complex dialogue among migrants and non-migrants.

Sara KoendersThe impact of favela ‘pacification’ on local relations, violence, and insecurity
in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
By Sara Koenders

With the world descending on Rio de Janeiro for the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics, the urgency to address the high levels of violence, crime and insecurity is broadly acknowledged. In an effort to regain control over the favela communities controlled by illegal armed actors, the authorities have, at the end of 2008, started a process of ‘pacification’ through the installation of Pacifying Police Units. The purpose of this research project is to understand how residents and grassroots organizations perceive and respond to changing conditions of violence, insecurity and control brought about by favela pacification. More specifically, it will identify how social and political relations within communities and between communities and external actors are being articulated. Exploring these issues will critically contribute to our understanding of processes of urban violence, the changing role of the state and public security strategies, and the challenges of establishing citizen security in these areas. The project involves ethnographic field research in two different favela communities.

Sara Koenders is a cultural anthropologist with an M.A. in conflict studies and human rights from Utrecht University. This research project builds upon her over five years of experience with research on urban violence and security in Brazil and is part of her dissertation research as an external PhD candidate at the University of Amsterdam.