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Dr. Jan Boesten

Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut

Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter

DFG Drittmittelprojekt: Gerichte in Transitionsprozessen: Richter, Frieden und Politik in Kolumbiens Friedensprozessen - Prof. Costa

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin
Projekthaus Boltzmannstr. 1
14195 Berlin


PhD: Department of Political Science, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada. Dissertation title: Between democratic security and legality: discursive institutionalism in Colombia’s Constitutional Court. Supervisor: Prof. Maxwell A. Cameron; Committee: Prof. Antje Ellermann, Prof. Pilar Riaño-Alcalá. January 2016.


Since March 2021: DFG researcher at the Institute of Latin American Studies (LAI), Freie Universität Berlin.

2019-2021: Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung Postdoctoral Research Fellow, cross-appointment between CONPEACE (University of Oxford) and the Institute of Latin American Studies (LAI), Freie Universität Berlin.

2018-2019: Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the From Actors of War to Architects of Peace: Promoting Human Security in Colombia and Internationally Programme (CONPEACE), Changing Character of War Centre (CCW) and Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. CONPEACE.

2017: Tutor for course “Morality and War”. Stanford House, University of Oxford.

2017-2018: Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the From Actors of War to Architects of Peace: Promoting Human Security in Colombia and Internationally Programme (CONPEACE), Changing Character of War Centre (CCW) and Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.

2015-2016: DAAD Rückkehrstipendiat with Prof. Dr. Christoph Möllers, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

2013-2014: Visiting scholar at the Rule of Law Centre at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (WZB); with Prof. Dr. Mattias Kumm.

September 2012 - May 2013: Visiting scholar at the Political Science Department at the Universidad de los Andes, Bogota, Colombia.

July-August 2012: Visiting scholar at the Centre of Latin American Studies at the University of Cambridge.

2009-2016: Doctoral Student at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada.

Awards, Affiliations and Third-Party Grants

Since June 2017: Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Associated Members.
January 2019: Oxford-Berlin Research Partnership Seed Grant.
October 2018 – February 2021: Fritz-Thyssen-Stiftung Research Stipend.
December 2015-May 2016: DAAD Rückkehrstipendium
2008-2015: International Tuition Awards. University of British Columbia
2008-2013: Faculty of Arts Graduate Awards. University of British Columbia
2006: Summer Undergraduate Research Award. University of Calgary

Work Experience

Research Assistance

2011 - 2014: Research Assistance for Prof. Antje Ellermann. University of British Columbia. Resulting Publication: Antje Ellermann. 2014. “The Rule of Law and the Right to Stay: the Moral Claims of Undocumented Migrants” In Politics and Society. 42:293.

2009: Research Assistance for Prof. Maxwell A. Cameron. University of British Columbia. Resulting Publications: Maxwell A. Cameron. “The State of Democracy in the Andes”, In Revista de Ciencia Política. 30:1, 2010. Maxwell A. Cameron. Pablo Luna. Democracía en la region andina. Bogota: Universidad de los Andes. 2012.

2007: Research Assistance for Prof. Luis Torres. University of Calgary. Historical Memorial project on the Chilean exile and overcoming post-authoritarian trauma.

2005 - 2006: Research Assistance for Prof. Pablo Policzer. University of Calgary. Web editor. Armed Groups Project.

Teaching Assistance

2012: Poli 332. “Latin American Politics and Governments”. Instructor: Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega. University of British Columbia

2011: Poli 240. “Currents of Political Thought”. Instructor: Dr. Emily Beausoleil. University of British Columbia

2011: Poli 328b. “Power and Language”. Instructor: Prof. Maxwell A. Cameron. University of British Columbia

2011: Poli 327. “European Integration”. Instructor: Prof. Kurt Hübner. University of British Columbia

2010: Poli 100. “Introduction to Politics” Instructor: Prof. Bruce Baum. University of British Columbia

2009: Poli 100. “Introduction to Politics”. Instructor: Prof. Bruce Baum. University of British Columbia

2008: Poli 240. “Currents of Political Thought”. Instructor: Dr. Chris Erickson. University of British Columbia

Other Work

Canadian Embassy in Berlin, Germany. 2008.

Assistant to the Directory of the Leibniz Privatschule in Elmshorn. 2007-present.

Freelance journalist at the Elmshorner Nachrichten. 1999-2005.

Extra-Curricular University Activity

2011: University of Salamanca. The European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Summer School on Latin American Politics, Salamanca, Spain.

Since 2009: Member of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA).

2005-2007: Member of the Armed Groups Project at the University of Calgary.

Organizational Skills


Oxford/Berlin Research Partnership Forum: Justice, Politics, and Security: Understanding Transitions across Colombia’s Margins. 7-8 November 2019, Nuffield College, University of Oxford

Cross-Stakeholder Forum: Addressing Marginality: Towards Enhanced Participation and People-Centred Security. 10 July 2019, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá

Cross-Stakeholder Forum: People-Centred Security and Development in the Colombian- Venezuelan Borderlands CONPEACE. 1-2 May 2019, Pembroke College, Oxford

Forum: From Conflict Actors to Architects of Peace (CONPEACE). Colombia’s

Changing Security Landscapes Viewed from the Margins. 15 October 2018. Nuffield College. University of Oxford.

Challenges and Opportunities in the Context of Colombia’s Peace Accords. 8 May 2018. Universidad de los Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Organized in co-operation between CONPEACE Programme, Changing Character of War Centre, University of Oxford, Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Universidad Simón Bolívar in Cucuta.

El Panorama Cambiante de la Seguridad en Colombia: Forjando Arquitectos de Paz con una Visión Compartida. 7 May 2018. Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia. Organized in co-operation between CONPEACE Programme, Changing Character of War Centre, University of Oxford, Universidad del Rosario in Bogota, Universidad Simón Bolívar in Cucuta.

Climate Policies, International Regimes, and Global Trade. A Transatlantic Perspective. Institute for European Studies Climate Policies Conference. (10/11 June 2011). Host: Prof. Kurt Huebner, Institute of European Studies, University of British Columbia.


Research Fields

  • Comparative politics (democratic quality; institutional development; legal politics)
  • Latin American studies (Colombia; Andean region);
  • Conflict studies (crime/conflict nexus; order in civil war).


My DFG-funded research project focuses on the unfolding peace process with Colombia’s formerly strongest guerrilla organization, FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia-Ejercito Popular). The peace accord ended the longest-running armed conflict in recent global history with more than 7 million victims. The current peace process with the FARC—an armed insurgency group that had vowed to overthrow the Colombian government—offers the opportunity of a systematic comparison with the past peace process (2005-2010) between the Colombian government and the AUC paramilitaries (Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia)—an umbrella organization of non-state counterinsurgency groups that vowed to defend the Colombian government against the guerrilla. In most general terms, the question is: How do the transitional justice processes of the FARC and AUC differ? Central are two claims arising from the civil war literature: 1) in the context of civil war, transitions are liminal spaces, in which existing systems of order are disrupted and new patterns of order have not yet emerged; 2) transitional justice affects political actors at, both, the micro and macro institutional level, and rearranges the political economy of armed actors vying for domination over territory and important sectors of an illicit economy (Boesten 2016). By systematically analysing the effects of the two demobilization processes, which entails contrasting the normative framework, comparing the transformation of local and national political actors over time, and mapping the resulting restructuration of non-state armed actors at the local level, my research contributes to understanding the sources of order during armed conflict, the potential of uncertainty during transitions, and the effects of transitions on systems of order at the national and sub-national level. This research project will benefit from my membership in the CONPEACE programme at the University of Oxford. We (with Prof. Sérgio Costa) have also designed an OX|BER project together with CONPEACE that explores transitions in Colombia as well as the effects of the triple crisis (peace process in Colombia, political upheaval in Venezuela, Covid-19) on border regions between Colombia and its neighbouring countries. Finally, my interests involve comparative democracy studies. I participate in a book project put together by Maxwell A. Cameron (UBC) that thematizes the persistence of strong-man politics in the Andes and the survival of defective democracy.

Idler, Annette. Jan Boesten. Under review. “Bringing Citizens Back In: Uncertainty in Colombia’s Changing Security Landscape.”

Boesten, Jan. Forthcoming. “Colombia’s Besieged Democracy: Sub-National Oligarchic Structures and Citizenship Deficits”. In Self-Coups, Strongmen, and Broken Constitutions: The Uphill Battle for Democracy in the Andean Republics. Maxwell A. Cameron. Eds.

Boesten, Jan. Annette Idler. 2021. “Mutual Recognition in the Context of Contested Statehood – Evidence from Tumaco, Colombia.” In Armed Non-State Actors and the Politics of Recognition: Risks and Opportunities for Conflict Transformation. Anna Geis, Maéva Clémen, Hanna Pfeifer. Eds. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Boesten, Jan. 2021. “Violence and Democracy in Colombia: The Conviviality of Citizenship Defects in Colombia‘s Nation-State”, In Mecila Working Paper Series, No. 33, São Paulo: The Maria Sibylla Merian International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America, http://dx.doi.org/10.46877/ boesten.2021.33.

Boesten, Jan. 2018. “LASA-Forum Dossier: Challenges in Colombia’s Changing Security Landscape”. In Lasa Forum. 49:3 (Summer). Online at: https://forum.lasaweb.org/past-issues/vol49-issue3.php.

Alba, Magali. Jan Boesten. Annette Idler. Juan Masullo. Arlene B. Tickner. Julia Zulver. 2018. “Toward a Shared Vision of Peace” In “Challenges in Colombia’s Changing Security Landscape”. Coordinated by Jan Boesten. In Lasa Forum. 49:3 (Summer). Online at: https://forum.lasaweb.org/files/vol49-issue3/Colombia-1.pdf.

Boesten, Jan. 2017. Of strategies, ideas, and deliberation: Judges, Courts, and Constitutions in Latin America”. Latin America Research Review. 52:4.

Boesten, Jan. 2016. Between Democratic Security and Democratic Legality: Discursive Institutionalism and Colombia’s Constitutional Court. (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from https://open.library.ubc.ca/cIRcle/collections/ubctheses/24/items/1.0224798.

Boesten, Jan. 2016. “Colombia’s Critical Juncture: The Communicative Origin of the 1991 Constitution”. In Precedente. Revista Jurídica. Vol: 8.

Boesten, Jan. 2014. “Between Democratic Security and Democratic Legality. Constitutional politics and presidential re-election in Colombia.” In Precedente. Revista Jurídica. Vol. 5.

Boesten, Jan. 2014. “The Generalization of Particularized Trust. Paramilitarism and Structures of Trust in Colombia.” In Revista Colombia Internacional. No 81 (May-August).

Boesten, Jan. 2014. “When Tintos Break Ice: Elite interviews in Colombia”. In Lasa Forum. 45:2 (Spring).