Dayna Cueva Alegría

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  • PhD Candidate
  • Geography
  • Social Theory
822 Patterson Office Tower
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

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




My dissertation research is based in the rural communities 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 rural civil society 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 rural 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 female governance and development in the Cafe Femenino Fair Trade Cooperative. 

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 communities to act collectively to achieve desired political and environmental ends.




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)



Conference Presentations

“The Governance Efforts of State and Rural Civil Society in the Implementation of Water Pollution Mitigation Infrastructure in Lake Titicaca”, RSA Europe Student and ECR Winter College: Regional Development and Public Policy, November 30–December 1, 2021. Virtual event.

“Water Pollution Governance in Lake Titicaca: Creating Political Spaces of Democratization”, paper presentation, International Association for the Study of the Commons, Lima, Peru, July 2, 2019.

“Is Fair Trade Coffee Enough for Development? El Precio Justo Alcanza Para el Desarrollo?”, Conference of Latin American Geography, San José, Costa Rica, May 21, 2018. (Presentation given in Spanish).

“Café Femenino: Democratic Governance, the State, and Development”, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latino Studies Conference: Democracy, Citizenship, and Violence in Latin America, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, September 15, 2017.

“The Role of State and Civil Society Engagement in Transforming the State-Society Boundary Configuration in Ayacucho, Peru”, paper presentation at the American Association of Geographers Conference, Tampa, Florida, April 8–12, 2014.Bursary participant and presenter.



Selected Publications: 

Cueva Alegría, D. (2016). The case of Café Femenino: The limitations of gender-conscious Fair Trade. World Development Perspectives, 1, 1-3. 

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.