People at ILR

Maria Lorena Cook
people / faculty

Maria Lorena Cook

Professor Emerita
International and Comparative Labor


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.