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Dayna Cueva Alegría
PhD Candidate in Geography


My dissertation research is based in the rural communities and urban centers around Lake Titicaca in Puno, Peru to study the role of democratization in Lake Titicaca's water pollution governance. Entitled Water Pollution Governance in Lake Titicaca: Creating Political Spaces of Democratization, I examine the political practices and environmental values of civil society environmental actors and state institutions that underlie the implementation of sewage water treatment plants (SWTP) to mitigate Lake Titicaca’s water pollution. The aim is to understand how democratic political practices and environmental values may reflect synergistic engagements that can generate desired environmental governance outcomes like SWTP, the consolidation of greater citizen political empowerment, and the advancement of environmental democratization. This research has been supported by external, nationally competitive fellowships, as well as by an internally competitive fellowship from the University of Kentucky. 

I have also conducted field research in Cajamarca, Peru  to study women's governance and development in the Cafe Femenino Fair Trade Cooperative.  

Amantaní Island in Lake Titicaca

I apply mixed-methods in my research, combining qualitative methods such as interviews with social network analysis, and even critical visual methods like photography. Through a focus on the "lived experience" of political practices, environmental values, and governance processes, I seek to discover and analyze relationships and connections that can serve as entry points for the development of theory. Moreover, my research aims to secure livelihoods and contribute to the capacity of rural and urban communities to act collectively to achieve desired political and environmental ends.


  • Cueva Alegría, D. (2024). “If there is no support, we won’t advance”: Emerging environmental democratization in water pollution governance in Lake Titicaca, Peru. Geoforum, 149, 103964. (link)
  • Cueva Alegría, D. (2019). Branding of an Ethical Development Narrative: Fair Trade, Gender, and Peru's Café Femenino. In S. Brunn & R. Kehrein (Eds.), Handbook of the Changing World Language Map. Cham, Switzerland: Springer Publications. (link)
  • Cueva Alegría, D. (2016). The case of Café Femenino: The limitations of gender-conscious Fair Trade. World Development Perspectives, 1, 1-3. (link)


  • GEO 316 "Environment and Development", Spring 2019 - (Primary Instructor)
  • LINKS SNA Workshop "Introduction to Social Network Analysis", Summer 2018 - (Teaching Assistant)
  • GEO 162 "Global Environmental Issues", Spring 2018 - (Teaching Assistant)
  • GEO 255 "Geography of the Global Economy", Spring 2017 - (Teaching Assistant)
Contact Information
822 Patterson Office Tower
M.A. Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Indiana University
M.A. Linguistics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.A. Philosophy, Chemistry (Double Major), Wellesley College
Research Interests
  • Democracy and Environmental Governance
  • State-Civil Society relations
  • Political Ecology
  • Political Geography
  • Social networks
  • Water (Pollution)
  • State and development
  • Gender and governance
  • Fair-trade
  • Geography
  • American Association of Geographers (AAG)
  • Conference of Latin Americanist Geography (CLAG)
  • Regional Studies Association
  • International Association for the Study of the Commons (IASC)
  • Latin American Studies Association (LASA)
  • UK Committee on Social Theory