Mary A. Shiraef

Mary A. Shiraef

Fields of Study: Comparative Politics, Political Theory


Mary A. Shiraef is a Ph.D. Candidate in political science. Her work examines identity transmission outcomes of border policies, with a focus on collective memory, migration, and sites of memorialization during and after periods of authoritarian rule in communist contexts. With an MLitt degree in International Relations theory from the University of St Andrews and an M.A. degree from the University of Notre Dame specializing in comparative politics, her PhD dissertation draws from historical and contemporary data to address the questions: how are minority identities transmitted under authoritarian institutions and under which conditions are they linked to political beliefs and behaviors? Her population of interest is those born in Albania 1890 to now.

Her research connects with post-Soviet literature on identity and to broader migration and authoritarianism literatures. Her dissertation work has been supported by an American Political Science Association's Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (APSA DDRIG), a Boren Fellowship, and a number of university-wide grants.

She is also a recent contributor to #openscience efforts, having led a team called the COVID Border Accountability Project (COBAP) which hand-coded an original dataset of border policies introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COBAP covered 200+ countries and associated island territories and was published in the open access journal Scientific Data in the Nature Portfolio. The first study she led using the data yielded no evidence that 2020 international border closures curbed the spread of the novel coronavirus, published in Scientific Reports also under Nature.