Karrie J. Koesel

Karrie J. Koesel

Associate Professor

Fields of Study: Comparative Politics

Research and Teaching Interests: Religion and Politics; Dictatorship and Democracy; Political Education and Propaganda; Contemporary Chinese and Russian Politics

Office Hours: Fridays 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and by appointment

2048 Jenkins Nanovic Halls




Fellow, Helen Kellogg Institute for International Studies
Fellow, Nanovic Institute for European Studies
Fellow, Liu Institute for Asia and Asian Studies
Fellow, Institute for Educational Initiatives
Fellow, Pulte Institute for Global Development


Karrie J. Koesel is associate professor of political science at the University of Notre Dame where she specializes in the study of contemporary Chinese and Russian politics, authoritarianism, and religion and politics. She is the author of Religion and Authoritarianism: Cooperation, Conflict and the Consequences (Cambridge University Press, 2014) and co-editor of Citizens & the State in Authoritarian Regimes: Comparing China & Russia (Oxford University Press, 2021). Her work has appeared in World Politics, Perspectives on Politics, The China Quarterly, Post-Soviet Affairs, Economics and Politics, Demokratizatsiya, and the Review of Religion and Chinese Society. She has testified before the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.

Her research has been supported by the John Templeton Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the Fulbright program, the International Research & Exchanges Board (IREX), the Einaudi Center and East Asia Program at Cornell University, the Kellogg Institute, Liu Institute, the Nanovic Institute, the Keough School of Global Affairs at Notre Dame, and the University of Oregon.

Koesel is a fellow in the Public Intellectual Program for the National Committee on US-China Relations. She served as a member of the International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes (IDCAR) research network, an associate scholar of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs at Georgetown University, and a researcher for the Under Caesar’s Sword Project at the University of Notre Dame.

Before joining the ND faculty, she taught at the University of Oregon. She earned her Ph.D. in 2009 in government from Cornell University and won the 2010 American Political Science Association Aaron Wildavsky Award for the best dissertation on religion and politics.

Koesel is currently working on a book, Learning to Be Loyal: Political Education in Authoritarian Regimes, which explores how authoritarian leaders cultivate popular legitimacy and loyalty among youth; how they socialize citizens and future elite to be patriotic and supportive; and whether these strategies free authoritarian rulers from the need to rely so heavily on coercion to stay in power and promote political order.

Professor Koesel teaches courses on contemporary China, comparative authoritarianism, the politics of religion, and democracy and dictatorship.