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Luciana Chamorro Elizondo

Luciana Chamorro Elizondo is a WCED Postdoctoral Fellow for the 2021-23 academic years. She is a political anthropologist who specializes in Central America and writes on revolution and its afterlives, populist politics, authoritarianism, affect and aesthetics. Her larger conceptual interests are in political theology, debt, inheritance and generational difference, political violence, and feminist and queer imaginaries of the future.

Luciana is currently preparing a book manuscript titled Afterlives of Revolution: authoritarian populism and political passions in post-revolutionary Nicaragua, which examines the everyday experience of populist governance after the return of Daniel Ortega to power in 2007. Based on field research conducted between 2014 and 2018 among Sandinista militants and sympathizers, the book argues that the material exchanges that are most often taken to explain the mobilizing capacities of authoritarian populism must be analyzed in conjunction with the economy of affects that circulate in and through exchanges, which issue powerful forms of identification that help sustain people’s attachments to the FSLN even when redistributive politics fades away. It is these affective excesses that sharpen the boundaries of the political community and invest it with a vibrance it could not otherwise achieve, inviting and enabling those that are part of it to the often violent, permanent defense of Sandinismo.

As a WCED Fellow, Luciana will continue to develop her book manuscript, incorporating field research conducted in Nicaragua after the 2018 April uprisings, a pivotal turning point after which the Ortega regime left behind the pursuit of hegemony and instead turned to the use of force and the establishment of a police state to sustain itself in power. She will also advance a series of related projects, including a collaborative and comparative study tentatively titled “Authoritarian Thresholds” which uses ethnographic methods to consider under what conditions democratically elected regimes tip toward the use of exceptional force to remain in power.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, Columbia University, 2020
  • M.A., Anthropology, Columbia University, 2015
  • B.A., Anthropology, Princeton University, 2012

Awards and Honors

  • Woodrow Wilson Foundation, Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (2019)
  • Josephine De Kármán Foundation Dissertation Fellowship (2019)
  • Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life Fellowship, Columbia University, NY (2018)
  • Elaine Combs-Schilling Award, Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, Columbia University, NY (2018)
  • International Travel Fellowship, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Columbia University, NY (2016)
  • Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fund (2015)
  • Morton H. Fried Named Fellowship, Columbia University, NY (2015)


Following her WCED Fellowship, Luciana accepted a position as assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Michigan.