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Maria Boikova Struble

Maria Boikova Struble

Professor of Politics & Government, Model UN Faculty Advisor


Ph.D., Lancaster University, International Relations, 2009 M.A., Arizona State University, International Relations, 2004 B.A., Louisiana State University, English Literature and Political Science, 2002


My mission at Western: To nurture and support students as they engage with difficult political questions; to encourage them to explore, be critical and ask questions of everything and everyone in the world; to support their creativity and make it possible for them to share it with others; to become a better instructor by learning to listen, reflect and communicate better with students; to challenge my students to think about questions such as human rights, refugees, migration and power from the positions of global citizens, not simply as passive observers; to strengthen the political science program by offering relative instruction, positive classroom environment and opportunities for field experience.

Q&A With Professor Struble

How did you discover Western?

I applied for jobs at small, liberal arts universities dedicated to teaching, and Western had a reputation for being a student-focused, innovative school. I have also driven through Gunnison before and loved the area, both in summer and in the winter, snowy season.

What are some of the highlights of your career?

“Politics of Bodies at Risk” is a manuscript coming out with Rowman & Littlefield in April 2019. I started and have been the faculty advisor for Model United Nations on campus. I am the faculty advisor for the Politics Club. I helped start the Global Studies emphasis within Politics & Government. I organize yearly roundtables on issues spanning migration, trafficking, human rights and the Constitution. I conduct research with survivors of trafficking in Eastern Europe and refugees in Nepal

What most excites you about your field?

I am excited by the opportunity to engage students with questions of power, migration, liberty, resistance and development in ways they can apply to their daily lives as well as use to become inspired to care about people in other countries of the world.

I am proud to support a very active community of students and to nurture their passions for making this world a more just, fair and equitable place for all. The ability to teach International Relations and Political Theory to young, keen, enthusiastic and curious students invigorates and inspires me daily.

What is your favorite thing about the Gunnison Valley?

The university, many opportunities for recreation (snow in winter and hiking, climbing, running in the summer). I appreciate the natural beauty and a focus on sustainability, environmental stewardship and community.

Courses Taught

  • POLS 117: Introduction to Political Ideologies (two sections)
  • POLS 250: Politics of the Environment
  • POLS 255: Introduction to Comparative Politics
  • POLS 260: Introduction to World Politics
  • POLS 309: Ancient to Early Modern Political Theory
  • POLS 355: Politics of Development
  • POLS 360: American Foreign Policy
  • POLS 380: The UN
  • POLS 397: Art and Politics
  • POLS 487: Senior Seminar in International Relations

Research Interests

  • Refugees, displacement and migration
  • International human rights
  • Testimony, language and bearing witness
  • The sovereign state and globalization
  • Environmental degradation and violence
  • Critical theories of International Relations

About Me


  • Nationality: Bulgarian
  • I have lived and studied in Bulgaria, France, the United States and Great Britain
  • I speak Bulgarian, English and French
  • Favorite cuisine: Indian
  • Favorite book: “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”
  • Favorite authors: Milan Kundera, Anna Akhmatova, Paul Celan and Terry Pratchett

Personal interests

  • Mountaineering
  • Knitting
  • Gardening
  • Traveling
  • Poetry (writing)
  • Hiking

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