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About Maria Lorena Cook

Maria Lorena Cook is a Professor in the Department of International and Comparative Labor at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) at Cornell University. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research has focused on labor unions and democratization in Mexico; labor rights and labor law reform in Latin America; transnational movements, trade, and regional integration; unauthorized migration and pro-migrant advocacy; and comparative immigration policies.

Her books include: The Politics of Labor Reform in Latin America: Between Flexibility and Rights (2007); Organizing Dissent: Unions, the State, and the Democratic Teachers' Movement in Mexico (1996); Working Through the Past: Labor and Authoritarian Legacies in Comparative Perspective (2015, co-editor); The Politics of Economic Restructuring: State-Society Relations and Regime Change in Mexico (1994, co-editor); and Regional Integration and Industrial Relations in North America (1994, co-editor).

Professor Cook teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on labor movements and industrial relations in Latin America; Mexican politics, economy, and society; and international migration. She is the ILR faculty adviser for the undergraduate minors in International Relations and Latin American Studies, and she supervises graduate students in the fields of Government, Industrial and Labor Relations, International Development, Latin American Studies, and Public Affairs. She also served as Resident Director and Faculty in the Cornell Abroad Program in Seville, Spain. She received the ILR School’s MacIntyre Award for Exemplary Teaching in 2007, and in 2003-04 was recognized as Distinguished Faculty by the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs.

Cook grew up in southern California and Lima, Peru, and lived for extended periods in Mexico and Spain. Her research has taken her to Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Australia, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S-Mexico border region. She has been a Visiting Scholar at Georgetown University, University of Melbourne Law School, Leiden University, and the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies at the University of California, San Diego. In 2013 she was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Lisbon in Portugal.


2011 - Present Professor, Cornell University ILR School International and Comparative Labor Studies
2008 - 2011 Chair, Cornell University ILR School International and Comparative Labor Studies
1998 - 2011 Associate Professor, Cornell University ILR School International and Comparative Labor Studies
1992 - 1998 Assistant Professor, Cornell University ILR School Collective Bargaining, Labor Law and Labor History
1992 - 1992 Lecturer, University of California - San Diego ‐ Political Science

Curriculum Vitae

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Honors and Awards

  • 2013 Fulbright Scholar Research/Teaching Award, University of Lisbon, Portugal
  • 2006-07 MacIntyre Award for Exemplary Teaching, ILR School, Cornell University
  • 2003-04 Distinguished Faculty, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Cornell University
  • 1990-92 Chancellor’s Minority Postdoctoral Fellowship, UC San Diego
  • 1988-89 Visiting Research Fellowship, Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies, UC San Diego
  • 1988 Phi Beta Kappa Northern California Association Scholarship


  • Migrants and Migration—Advanced Writing Seminar
  • Comparative Labor Movements in Latin America
  • Crossing Borders: Migrations in Comparative Perspective
  • Mexico: Politics, Economy & Society
  • Work, Labor and Capital in the Global Economy
  • The Mexican Revolution at 100: Politics, Economy & Society
  • Industrial Relations in Latin America (graduate)
  • Labor, Free Trade, and Economic Integration in the Americas
  • Political Economy of Mexico
  • Introduction to Collective Bargaining
  • Farmworkers (team-taught cross-campus course)
  • Freshman/First-Year Colloquium
  • Latin American Politics
  • Problems of Contemporary Democracies: Spain and Latin America

Contact Information

Cornell University, ILR School
368 Ives Faculty Building
Ithaca , NY 14853-3901
Tel: 607.255.1349
Fax: 607.255.6840


Labor Politics, Labor Law Reform, Latin America (3)

Labor Rights, Trade, Globalization (2)

Mexico: Labor and Political Change, State-Labor Relations, Industrial Relations and Trade (4)

Migration, Migrant Advocacy (4)

Regional Integration, NAFTA, Industrial Relations, Union Strategies (4)