Karrie Koesel

Contact Information

Karrie Koesel Karrie Koesel
Associate Professor
418 Decio


Political Science


Ph.D., Government, Cornell University
M.A., Government, Cornell University
M.A., Political Science, University of Notre Dame
B.A., International Relations, Drake University

Research interests

Religion and Politics; Democracy and Dictatorship; Political Education; Contemporary Chinese and Russian Politics


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 her work has appeared in Perspectives on PoliticsThe China QuarterlyPost-Soviet Affairs, Economics and Politics, and Review of Religion and Chinese Society.

Her research has been supported by grants from 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, and the University of Oregon. Koesel is also an Associate Scholar of the Religious Freedom Project at the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs, Georgetown University, a researcher for the Under Caesar’s Sword Project at the Center for Civil and Human Rights, University of Notre Dame, and a member of the International Diffusion and Cooperation of Authoritarian Regimes (IDCAR) research network, and a Public Intellectual Fellow for the National Committee on US-China Relations.

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-length project, “Learning to Be Loyal: Patriotic Education in Authoritarian Regimes.” This book explores questions about how authoritarian leaders cultivate popular legitimacy and loyalty; how they socialize citizens and the 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.

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