Professor Priya Kurian

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

([email protected])

About Priya

Priya Kurian is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy. She teaches in the areas of environmental politics and policy, media politics, and gender, justice and the environment. Her research is interdisciplinary and spans the areas of environmental politics, gender politics, critical media and political communication, critical public policy and development studies. Underpinned by a concern for social and environmental justice, equity and inclusion, much of Priya’s work focuses on the significance of gender, culture, race and class to understandings of environmental, social, cultural and political sustainability.

Priya’s recent work  has been in the area of public engagement, citizenship and the governance of new and emerging technologies. She received a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant for a study on Sustainable Citizenship: Transforming Public Engagement on New and Emerging Technologies (with Professor Debashish Munshi). She also co-led (with Debashish Munshi)  a project on Centring Culture in Public Engagement on Climate Change Adaptation, funded by a grant from the Deep South National Science Challenge and was an investigator (with Patrick Barrett) in a study of Participatory Processes for Marine Ecosystem Restoration and Management: The Maketū Estuary Case, funded by a grant from the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

Her current research includes work on:  (1) climate change politics and policy, including projects on climate change adaptation and climate activism, funded by the University of Waikato’s Strategic Investment Fund (2019); (2) public perspectives on gene editing technologies as part of a Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE) grant-funded project (2019-21); and (3) ethnic women in New Zealand politics, funded by a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant (2020-23). In the first half of 2020, she is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) where she is working on a research project on climate change and justice.

Priya is author of Engendering the Environment? Gender in the World Bank’s Environmental Policies (Ashgate, 2000). She is co-editor of a number of volumes, including Feminist Futures: Re-imagining Women, Culture, and Development (Zed Books, 2003; 2016; Zubaan Press, 2005). Most recently, she co-edited Climate Futures: Re-imagining Global Climate Justice (Zed Books, 2019), a work that follows on from an international symposium on climate justice she organised as part of a 2015 Rockefeller Foundation Grant she received with international collaborators. Her work has appeared in a number of journals including Nature Climate Change, Public Understanding of Science, Global Environmental Politics, Public Relations Review, Management Communication Quarterly, Citizenship Studies, Futures,   Sustainable Development, and Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.


Environment Issues

Environmental Politics and Policy; Climate Change; Gender and Environment; Sustainable Development; Women and Politics; Women, Culture & Development; Critical Public Policy; Citizenship and Democratic Politics.

Featured Publications


  • Bhavnani, K-K, Foran, J., Kurian, P., & Munshi, D. (Eds) (2019) Climate Futures: Reimagining Global Climate Justice. London: Zed Books.
  • Bhavnani, K-K, Foran, J.,  Kurian, P., & Munshi, D. (Eds) (2016) Feminist Futures: Re-imagining Women, Culture and Development. 2nd Ed. London: Zed Books.
  • Bhavnani, K-K, Foran, J., Kurian, P. & Munshi, D. (Eds) (2009) On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions. New York, London: Routledge.
  • 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]

Selected Articles & Book Chapters

  • Arora-Jonsson, S., Agarwal, S., Colfer, C., Keene, S., Kurian, P., & Larson, A. (2019) “SDG 5: Gender Equality – A Precondition for Sustainable Forestry”, in Katila, P., Colfer, C., de Jong, W., Galloway, G., Pacheco, P., & Winkel, G. (eds)  Sustainable Development Goals: Their Impacts on Forests and People. IUFRO-WSE. Cambridge University Press. DOI: 10.1017/9781108765015
  • Romero, P., Bulkeley, H., Pelling, M., Burch, S., Gordon, D., Gupta, J., Johnson, C., Kurian, P., Lecavalier, E., Simon, D., Tozer, L., Ziervogel, G. & Munshi, D. (2018) “Urban Transformative Potential in a Changing Climate,” Nature Climate Change. 8: 754–761.
  • Pandey, C. & Kurian, P.  (2017) “The Media and the Major Emitters: A Cross-national Analysis of the Media Coverage of International Climate Change Policy.” Global Environmental Politics 17(4): 67-87.
  • Munshi, D., Kurian, P. & Jordi, X. (2017) “An (other) ‘story’ in history: Challenging colonialist public relations in novels of resistance”. Public Relations Review. 43(2): 366-374.
  • 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 DevelopmentClimate FuturesEngendering the EnvironmentInternational Organizations and Environmental Policy

Recent Publications

  • Barrett, P., Cretney, R., Kurian, P., & Simmonds, N. (2021). Shifting discourses of nature in participatory processes for environmental management. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 1-20. doi:10.1080/23276665.2021.1972322

  • Barrett, P., Kurian, P., Simmonds, N., & Cretney, R. (2021). Explaining reflexive governance through discursive institutionalism: estuarine restoration in Aotearoa New Zealand. Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning. doi:10.1080/1523908X.2021.1885358

  • Munshi, D., & Kurian, P. (2021). Public Relations and Sustainable Citizenship: Representing the Unrepresented. Routledge. doi:10.4324/9780429322044

  • Munshi, D., Kurian, P., Cretney, R., Morrison, S. L., & Kathlene, L. (2020). Centering culture in public engagement on climate change. Environmental Communication, 14(5), 573-581. doi:10.1080/17524032.2020.1746680

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 has supervised 14 PhD students to completion. She is currently supervising 4 PhD and 8 Masters students. In 2012 she won the University of Waikato’s Research Postgraduate Supervision Excellence Award.