Maria Akchurin
Former CIPR Post-Doctoral Fellow
Non-Resident Research Fellow


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


  • 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:

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