About the Center

The mission of the Francis and Kathleen Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy is to examine politics and policy making in the United States—leaving Notre Dame’s distinctive imprint on the study of American democracy. With a grounding in Notre Dame’s Catholic mission, the Center facilitates research on the critical issues facing America’s democratic system, and encourages Notre Dame’s students to be engaged in both civic and political life.

While the Center’s activities address American politics broadly, it has four focal areas of inquiry:

  • The politics of democratic inclusion: the political incorporation and representation of an increasingly diverse population, especially Latinos.
  • Leadership, citizenship, and public service: the challenges of political leadership and the obligations of democratic citizenship.
  • Constitutional studies: the moral and foundational issues in American politics.
  • Religion and American democracy: the role of religion, particularly the Catholic Church, in America’s political system.

The theme of Religion and American Democracy is further supported by the Tocqueville Program on Inquiry into Religion and Public Life.


The Center sponsors a variety of activities for both faculty and students, including conferences, a weekly research workshop for faculty and graduate students, a speaker series for the entire campus community, research grants for graduate students, roundtables for undergraduates, internships for undergraduates, and a thesis prize for undergraduates.

Featured Event

Brian Calfano – April 25

The Political Science Department's series on Religion and Politics will join with the Rooney Center Workshop to welcome Brian Calfano (Missouri State) on Friday, April 25.

"Acting on Faith: Political and Identity Performance Among American Religious Minorities"
Brian Calfano (Missouri State)

Friday, April 25
404 Main Building
Lunch is Provided



The Commission on Youth Voting and Civic Knowledge has released a new report on the status of youth civic engagement, "All Together Now: Collaboration and Innovation for Youth Engagement." Rooney Center director David Campbell is a member of the commission.  Click here for more information.


Upcoming Events:

Rooney Center Friday Workshops:

April 18
No Workshop (Easter Break)

April 25
Brian Calfano (Missouri State)
404 Main Building