Professor Priya Kurian

Priya Kurian

Graduate Adviser (Political Science, Public Policy, IRSS), Professor

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

Personal Website:

About Priya

Priya Kurian is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy. She teaches in the areas of environmental politics and policy, climate politics, and gender, justice and the environment. Her research is interdisciplinary and spans the areas of environmental politics, gender politics, media and communication, and critical public policy. 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 areas of gender politics, public engagement, citizenship and the governance of new and emerging technologies. Her current research includes work on: (1) ethnic women in New Zealand politics, funded by a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant (2020-23); (2) public perspectives on gene editing technologies; and (3) climate change politics and policy, including projects on climate change adaptation and climate activism.

Priya is co-author of Public Relations and Sustainable Citizenship: Representing the Unrepresented (Routledge, 2021) with Prof. Debashish Munshi (University of Waikato) and author of Engendering the Environment? Gender in the World Bank’s Environmental Policies (Routledge, 2019/2000). 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) and Climate Futures: Re-imagining Global Climate Justice (Zed Books, 2019). Her work has appeared in a number of journals including Political Science, Journal of Environmental Policy and Planning, Nature Climate Change, Public Understanding of Science, Global Environmental Politics, Third World Quarterly, Public Relations Review, Management Communication Quarterly, Citizenship Studies, Futures, Sustainable Development, and Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences.

She has co-led a number of research projects on public engagement on new technologies such as nanotechnologies and genetic technologies, public participation in marine ecosystem restoration, climate justice, and climate change adaptation. Funding for these projects has come from a number of national and international sources, including the Rockefeller Foundation, Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Grant, Deep South National Science Challenge and Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge.

Papers Taught

Research Supervised

A former journalist, Priya enjoys teaching at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.  She also enjoys the stimulus of supervision and has supervised 16 PhD students to completion. In 2012 she won the University of Waikato’s Research Postgraduate Supervision Excellence Award.

Recent Publications

  • Kathlene, L., Munshi, D., Kurian, P., & Morrison, S. (2022). Cultures in the laboratory: mapping similarities and differences between Māori and non-Māori in engaging with gene-editing technologies in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 9(1), 10 pages. doi:10.1057/s41599-022-01104-9

  • Kurian, P., Munshi, D., Cretney, R., Morrison, S., & Kathlene, L. (2022). The cultural politics of climate change adaptation: an analysis of the tourism sector in Aotearoa New Zealand. Political Science, online, 1-18. doi:10.1080/00323187.2021.2021803

  • Kurian, P., Cretney, R., Munshi, D., & Morrison, S. (2022). Social movements and the environment. In M. Bargh, & J. McArthur (Eds.), Environmental Politics and Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand (pp. 192-210). Auckland University Press.

  • 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

Find more research publications by Priya Kurian


Environment Issues; Gender; Politics

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