CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Maria Akchurin


Maria Akchurin is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Inter-American Policy & Research and a sociologist studying institutional politics and social movements relating to social and environmental policies in South America. Her research interests include political sociology, global/transnational sociology, comparative historical sociology, and environment and development.

Maria’s current research follows two main lines of inquiry focusing on the political and social processes around the governance of water resources, using cases from Argentina and Chile. The first line of inquiry, based on her dissertation work, focuses on private and public sector approaches to the provision of urban water and sanitation services, as well as mobilization around access to water and sanitation in cities. The second traces the history of environmentalist and environmental justice organizations alongside socio-environmental conflicts between local communities and the mining, forestry, and hydropower industries in Chile.

Maria has also studied how alliances among different civil society groups, including environmentalists and indigenous organizations, influenced the introduction of nature as a new subject of legal rights in Ecuador. In addition to socio-environmental issues, her broader research agenda encompasses interests in women’s activism, the relationship of contemporary labor movements to “new” social movements, and the impact of mobilization on policies affecting social welfare in a comparative context. Her work has been published in Law & Social Inquiry and the American Sociological Review.

At CIPR, Maria will be coordinating the research group on Mobilization, Extractivism, and Governmental Action, headed by Dr. Eduardo Silva.

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Info


  • B.A., International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, 2004
  • M.A., Sociology, University of Chicago, 2009
  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Chicago, 2015

Academic Experience

  • Lecturer, Northwestern University, Spring 2017, Spring 2016
  • Lecturer, University of Chicago, Spring 2014, Fall 2010
  • Teaching Assistant, University of Chicago, Spring 2012, Spring 2011, Winter 2010, Fall 2009, Winter 2009
  • Lecturer, University of Chicago, Winter 2011

Research & Teaching Specializations: Political sociology and Social movements; Comparative environmental sociology; Politics of water in Argentina and Chile


  • Photography Prize, Department of Sociology, University of Chicago, 2014
  • Markovitz Dissertation Fellowship, University of Chicago, 2013
  • Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, National Science Foundation, 2013
  • Marvin E. Olsen Best Student Paper Award, Environment and Technology Section, American Sociological Association, 2011
  • Tinker Field Research Grant, Center for Latin American Studies, University of Chicago, 2010
  • Francis X. Kinahan Award for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Writing, University of Chicago, 2009


  • Spanish
  • Russian

Overseas Experience

  • Argentina
  • Chile
  • Ecuador

Selected Publications

  • 2015. “Constructing the Rights of Nature: Constitutional Reform, Mobilization, and Environmental Protection in Ecuador.” Law and Social Inquiry. 40(4):937-968.
  • 2013. “Pathways to Empowerment: Repertoires of Women’s Activism and Gender Earnings Equality.” American Sociologicaql Review. 78:679-701.

Latin American-Related Courses Taught in Last 2 years: Global Perspectives on Environment, Politics, & Society







All Events

Upcoming Events

Latin American Graduate Oraganization (LAGO) 2018 Conference: Call for Proposals

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The Latin American Graduate Organization will be hosting its 2018 Latin American Studies Conference titled Thinking of the Future: Expanding the possible in the Americas (Pensando en el porvenir: Expandiendo lo posible en las Américas) February 23 – 25, 2018, at Tulane University, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

This year, the conference topic is meant to challenge academics and activists to move beyond critiques and recommendations of how to address modern days issues, and instead articulate a vision of and for the future.

The LAGO Conference welcomes all disciplines and all approaches, as long as the project attempts to grapple with the idea of building something better. This is a Latin American Studies Conference, but creative writers, journalists, artists, performers, organizers, lawyers and healthcare providers as well as graduate students and other academics are welcome. Proposals are accepted in Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Creole, and English.

Deadlines: Abstracts of papers and projects are due November 25, 2017. Abstracts of papers or project descriptions must not exceed 300 words.

Please contact with questions. For more information, visit the official conference website.