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Iris van der Zande MA

PhD candidate


Area(s) of interest: Dutch History, Gender, History of Emotions

Cohort/Start PhD: 2018-2019

The power of the Prisoner. Emotions, Gender and Agency in Nineteenth-Century Dutch Prisons



Open University
Promotor(es): Prof. dr. Gemma Blok
Aanstelling: vanaf september 2018

In the international research on the history of prisons, the powerlessness and passive attitude of prisoners is often assumed. This project will question this assumption by considering how prisoners reacted on and influenced changes in Dutch criminal law and prison system. I use a multidimensional perspective on power that pays attention to both collaboration, conflict and
manipulation caused by ordinary people. This research concentrates on patterns, networks, emotional expressions and interactions of prisoners with the people around them. By examining the impact prisoners had on other people, for example their visitors, the prison board and staff, this research concentrates on the following question: How and to what extent did prisoners influence the Dutch prison system? The changes in the nineteenth century prison system are connected to larger developments just as social reform movements and the emergence of human rights. With this research I hope to increase the understanding of the ignored active role of prisoners in nineteenth-century Dutch prison reform.