About Lisenne

Je suis Zenne, educator, lawyer, researcher and storyteller.

The name ‘Je suis Zenne’ stands for all that I am in the sense that I believe that I am constantly becoming, but also that identities, attachment and power play a role in our daily lives and in the institutions that we create.

Becoming.

For now, let me first mention some of my credentials.

I am a cum laude human rights and constitutional law graduate of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Both during and after my studies I worked at several law offices, governmental departments and volunteered for NGO’s, in the Netherlands, Curaçao and Brazil.

Being trained as a positivist legal scholar (basically understanding law only in legal terms) did not satisfy my longings to better understand socio- economic and political injustices and inequalities in the world. This is why I started working on a multidisciplinary dissertation on human rights education. It gave me the opportunity to specialize in the role of historicity, identity, identifications, negotiations, power, and knowledge production.

What humans make of human rights law.

This contributed to my understanding of law as ‘what humans make of human rights law’. It also made me better understand the relations between human rights and struggles for freedom, equality and justice. And thus the struggles against racism, sexism, classism, and other -isms. I see human rights as a changing and contested sites which have possibilities to contribute to freedom, equality and justice. In contrast to positivist legal scholars, I take this knowledge into account in consulting, educating, speaking or writing on human rights law and human rights issues.

In 2021 I successfully defended my doctoral thesis. The title of my thesis is Being Human and Having Rights: Human Rights Education at the United Nations and in Curaçao. In the past I taught constitutional law and human rights law at the University of Curaçao and the University of Amsterdam. I am currently an assistant professor at Tilburg University.

Freedom.

The work that I do is not only related to law, because to be able to understand freedom in relation to law one has to have an understanding of freedom in general.

Our identities and identifications have an effect on the freedom we allow for ourselves and others. This true when we look at what human rights are and how they are shaped. It is also true when we look at our daily lives. I am referring to race, gender, sexual, national identities etc., and the ways in which these intersect. I am also referring to identities and identifications such as being a mother, being a child, or being for example a perfectionist. They are all related to our ideas of what a human being is and what a (good) human being ought to be. And with that they are related to our understanding of truth and reality.

In my understanding, freedom is inextricably connected to equality and justice. In all my endeavours as a lawyer, researcher and storyteller I take as a departing point the idea of becoming. It is where freedom lies. Therefor, I take seriously the role of identities, identifications and power relations, and I am invested in inclusive storytelling and knowledge production.

Past and current projects.

Some of my projects include consultations on human rights law for NGO’s and individuals, workshops for businesses and presentations for political parties. I was a human rights guest lecturer in secondary schools and during summer schools in the Netherlands and Curaçao. I also delivered keynotes and moderated discussions on race, gender, national identities, equality, freedom and heritage for museums such as Museon in the Hague, and art projects such as Patricia Kaersenhout’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner Too. Online I share daily life experiences of (non-)freedom

Future projects.

I am open for new projects related to freedom, human rights, diversity and inclusion, consciousness, truth and reality. Please feel free to contact me to discuss the possibilities.

  • Education:
    Talks, lectures, guest classes, workshops and educational material.
  • Consultations:
    Written and in person consultations.
  • Storytelling:
    talks, interviews, moderation, blogs, articles.

Feel free to contact me for education, research or storytelling relating to freedom, human rights, diversity and inclusion.