Who we are

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.)

What we do

The Center sponsors a variety of activities for both faculty and students, including weekly research workshops, a speaker series, conferences, graduate research grants and support, and an undergraduate thesis prize. Together with Notre Dame's Center for Social Concerns and the Constitutional Studies Minor, we sponsor NDVotes, a nonpartisan, voter registration, education, and mobilization campaign on campus.

For information on recent events and activities, check out our recent Year in Review documents.

2019-20 Year in Review

2018-19 Year in Review


The Francis and Kathleen Rooney Center for the Study of American Democracy welcomes your support in any number of ways. We value the time, talent, and treasure of our graduates and friends and welcome collaborative efforts to further our work. Make a gift here or connect with the department about other ways to get involved.