Department of Sociology

Maricarmen Hernandez

Doctoral Candidate
Maricarmen Hernandez



Maricarmen is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests are in the area of environmental inequality, social movements, political sociology and extractive economies.

She is currently working on an environmental justice research project with a focus on collective action and community organizing using ethnographic methods in the coastal city of Esmeraldas, Ecuador. Maricarmen has spent a total of 13 months conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Esmeraldas as part of an NSF-funded project on the social production of environmental risk perceptions in Latin America. Her dissertation project is an ethnographic exploration of organizing strategies and daily life in a highly toxic informal settlement located next to the largest refinery in Ecuador.

Her MA thesis, “Latino Communities and Environmental Justice: A Comparative Study of Mobility and Exposure to Air Toxics in Houston,” received the 2014 Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award from the University of Texas- El Paso. It examined distributional injustices, focusing the role of residential decision-making among Latino immigrant groups living at risk to air toxics in the Houston, Texas Metropolitan Area.

Maricarmen is a fellow at UT’s Urban Ethnography Lab and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and current ACLS Fellow, and has served as student coordinator for the working group Power, History and Society. 

Curriculum Vitae

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  • Department of Sociology

    The University of Texas at Austin
    305 E 23rd St, A1700
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    Austin, TX 78712-1086