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 (with attention to issues of sustainable development and gender and the environment); science and technology studies (especially public engagement in policy decision making); and development studies (including ‘women, culture, and development’).

Her early work was on the World Bank’s policies and their impacts on Third World social, cultural and environmental contexts, focusing specifically on the Narmada Valley’s Sardar Sarovar Dam Project in India, 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, and climate change policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. Her work has been published in peer reviewed journals, including 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 (with Kum-Kum Bhavnani and John Foran) 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 On the Edges of Development: Cultural Interventions (Routledge, 2009), co-edited with Kum-Kum Bhavnani, John Foran and Debashish Munshi.

Priya’s recent work has been in the area of sustainability, citizenship and the governance of new and emerging technologies. She and Dr Debashish Munshi of the Waikato Management School were 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).

In 2015, she received (with Debashish Munshi, Kum-Kum Bhavnani and John Foran) a Rockefeller Foundation Grant for a project on Climate Futures: Re-imagining Global Climate Justice, which is the focus of her next book (to be published by the University of California Press).


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 2 On the Edges of Development Feminist Futures Engendering the Environment International Organizations and Environmental Policy

Recent Publications

  • 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

  • Simon-Kumar, R., Kurian, P., Young-Silcock, F., & Narasimhan, N. (2017). Mobilising culture against domestic violence in migrant and ethnic communities: practitioner perspectives from Aotearoa/New Zealand. Health and Social Care in the Community, 25(4), 1387-1395. doi:10.1111/hsc.12439

  • Munshi, D., Kurian, P., & Xifra, J. (2017). An (other) ‘story’ in history: Challenging colonialist public relations in novels of resistance. Public Relations Review, 43(2), 366-374. doi:10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.02.016

  • Kurian, P. A. (2017). What might it take to achieve sustainable development? Three contrasting sets of perspectives. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, 39(3), 202-210. doi:10.1080/23276665.2017.1367164

View all research publications by Priya Kurian

Papers Taught


A former journalist, Priya enjoys teaching at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. She also enjoys the stimulus of supervision and is currently supervising 5 PhD and 3 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