CIPR | Center For Inter-American Policy & Research

Tulane University

Maria Akchurin

Former CIPR Post-Doctoral Fellow (2017-2019) and Non-Resident Research Fellow

Contact Info

Department Affiliation
Center for Inter-American Policy and Research

After CIPR, Maria Akchurin accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Sociology at Loyola University in Chicago, starting in fall 2019. At Loyola, she will continue her research on water politics, as well as teaching courses on environmental and urban sociology. She continues to work with Research Group MEGA.

She was a Postdoctoral Fellow at CIPR from 2017-2019 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.

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

Full CV or Website
Curriculum Vitae



All Events

Upcoming Events

CIPR Fall Speaker Series

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Please join us Mondays at noon for our Fall speaker Series
Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America
October 14, October 21, November 11, and November 18.

In the 2019 fall series, Markets, the State, and Democracy in Latin America, speakers will discuss emerging issues that have surfaced as the result of the opportunities and challenges to democratic governance that markets have brought to the region. Latin America experienced a major influx of investment, particularly in the resource sector, over the past several decades. While this foreign investment helped hasten economic development, it also brought a backlash of resource nationalism and increased calls for redistribution. Moreover, Latin America is now a model in its own right, with other countries in the Global South adopting its state-sponsored development strategies in the resource sector. These presentations will also explore how Latin America is navigating a sea change in geopolitics, with China emerging as a challenger to the United States as the region’s main trade partner and ally.

For more information, check out our Fall Series Poster

Latin American Writers Series: Alberto Barrera Tyszka

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Ecuadorian writer and Tulane Visiting Scholar Gabriela Alemán interviews Venezuelan writer Alberto Barrera Tyszka about his life, interests, and influences. Their discussion will be followed by an open Q&A and an informal reception. This event will be held in Spanish.

About the Latin American Writers Series

This series brings together Latin America’s most representative creative voices and the editorial entrepreneurs that publish them. By way of interviews conducted by renowned Ecuadorian writer Gabriela Alemán and presentations of various editorial missions, the guests will shed light on a literary world shaped by the contemporary issues of the continent. Moving forward, their conversations will comprise the centerpiece of a digital archive that introduces their ideas to a global audience.

Este serie reúne a los autores más representativos de la escritura continental y los editores que los publican. A través de entrevistas con la reconocida escritora ecuatoriana Gabriela Alemán y presentaciones de proyectos editoriales, los invitados explorarán los vínculos entre el mundo literario y la realidad continental. Sus conversaciones se convertirán después en el eje de un archivo digital que busca llevar estas ideas a un público global.

About the Author

Born in Caracas, Alberto Barrera Tyszka has published over a dozen works of poetry, short story, chronicle, novel, and biography. His most recent publications include the novels Patria o Muerte (2015) and Rating (2011), the poetic anthology La inquietud (2013), the collection of chronicles Un país a la semana (2013), and the short story collection Crímenes (2009). In 2005, he collaborated with Cristina Marcano to write the definitive biography of Hugo Chávez, Hugo Chávez sin uniforme: una historia personal (2005). Patria o muerte won the 2015 Premio Tusquets de Novela, and his novel La enfermedad, translated into English as The Sickness (2010), received the 2006 Herralde Award. Barrera also writes for television and has scripted soap operas for Venezuelan, Mexican, Colombian, and Argentinian networks.