Professor Priya Kurian

Convenor of Political Science & Public Policy, Professor

Qualifications: BA (University of Madras), MA, PhD (Purdue University)

School of Social Sciences


About Priya

Dr Priya Kurian is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy. She teaches in the areas of environmental politics and policy, media politics, and gender and the environment.

Trained as a political scientist specialising in public policy, comparative politics and women’s studies, Priya’s research is interdisciplinary and involves work on environmental, social, and cultural sustainability through a focus on three overlapping areas of study: environmental politics and policy; science and technology studies; and development studies.

Her early work was on the World Bank’s policies and their impacts on Third World social, cultural and environmental contexts, which led to the publication of the book Engendering the Environment? Gender in the World Bank’s Environmental Policies (Ashgate, 2000). Since then, she has written on sustainable development, ecological modernisation, the politics of immigration and genetic engineering, public engagement on new and emerging technologies, climate justice and climate change policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her work has been published in peer reviewed journals, including Nature Climate Change, Public Understanding of Science, Sustainable Development, Citizenship Studies, Third World Quarterly, Futures, Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, Policy & Politics, Ethnic and Racial Studies,Management Communication Quarterly, and Public Relations Review.

In the area of development studies, she has co-edited the landmark Feminist Futures: Re-imagining Women, Culture, and Development (Zed Books, London, 2003; 2016; Zubaan Press, Delhi, 2005), which offers a ‘women, culture and development’ perspective for development studies. This was followed by another co-edited volume, On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions (Routledge, 2009).

Priya’s recent work has been in the area of public engagement, citizenship and the governance of new and emerging technologies. She was awarded a prestigious Marsden Grant by the Royal Society of New Zealand for a study on Sustainable Citizenship: Transforming Public Engagement on New and Emerging Technologies (2010-2013). She is currently involved with the two National Science Challenge grants. She is an investigator in a study of Participatory Processes for Marine Ecosystem Restoration and Management: The Maketū Estuary Case, funded by a grant from the Sustainable Seas Challenge. She is also Co-Principal Investigator on a project on Centring Culture in Public Engagement on Climate Change Adaptation, funded by a grant from the Deep South Challenge. This work follows on from a 2015 Rockefeller Foundation Grant for an international symposium on Climate Futures: Re-imagining Global Climate Justice that she received with international collaborators.


Environment Issues

Environmental Policy and Politics; Feminist Politics; Sustainable Development; Women, Culture & Development; Science & Technology Studies; Critical Policy Analysis.

Featured Publications

  • Bhavnani, K-K, Foran, J., Kurian, P. & Munshi, D. (Eds) (2009) On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions. New York, London: Routledge.
  • Bhavnani, K-K, Foran, J., & Kurian, P. (Eds) (2003) Feminist Futures: Re-imagining Women, Culture and Development. London: Zed Books. [Re-published in 2006 by Zubaan Press, Delhi]
  • Kurian, P. (2000) Engendering the Environment? Gender in the World Bank's Environmental Policies, Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Bartlett, R. V., Kurian, P., & Malik, M. (Eds). (1995) International Organizations and Environmental Policy. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. [Aaron Wildavsky Award from the Policy Studies Organization for the best book in the policy studies field, December 1997]
  • Kurian, P., Munshi, D., & Bartlett, R.V. (2014) “Conceptualising Sustainable Citizenship: A Dialectical Model”, Citizenship Studies 18 (3-4): 435-451.

Feminist Futures 2On the Edges of DevelopmentFeminist FuturesEngendering the EnvironmentInternational Organizations and Environmental Policy

Recent Publications

  • Barrett, P., Kurian, P., Simmonds, N., & Cretney, R. (2019). Community participation in the development of the Ōngātoro/Maketū Estuary project: The socio‐ecological dimensions of restoring an interconnected ecosystem. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. doi:10.1002/aqc.3048

  • Munshi-Kurian, A., Munshi, D., & Kurian, P. (2019). Strategic interventions in sociology's resource mobilization theory: Reimagining the #MeToo movement as critical public relations. Public Relations Review, online, 7 pages. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2019.05.009

  • Romero-Lankao, P., Bulkeley, H., Pelling, M., Burch, S., Gordon, D., Gupta, J., . . . Munshi, D. (2018). Urban transformative potential in a changing climate. Nature Climate Change, 8, 754-761. doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0264-0 Open Access version:

  • Romero-Lankao, P., Bulkeley, H., Pelling, M., Burch, S., Gordon, D. J., Gupta, J., . . . Munshi, D. (2018). [Comment] Urban transformative potential in a changing climate. Nature Climate Change, 8(9), 754-756. doi:10.1038/s41558-018-0264-0

View all research publications by Priya Kurian

Papers Taught


Priya enjoys teaching at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  She also enjoys the stimulus of supervision and is currently supervising 6 PhD and 9 Masters students. In 2012 she won the University of Waikato’s Research Postgraduate Supervision Excellence Award.

Contact Details

Name  Extn.  Username  Room  Department
Kurian, Prof Priya 9319 pkurian J.2.15 Political Science & Public Policy