Loyola University Maryland

Department of Political Science

Dr. Carsten Vala

Associate Professor and Chair
Humanities 250-Kvala

Office Hours:

Mondays, Wednesdays 1:30-3:45 p.m.
(Or by appointment)
Phone: 410-617-2426
Email: cvala@loyola.edu


  • Associate Professor, 2014-
  • Fulbright Scholar, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Fall 2015
  • Assistant Professor, 2008-2014


  • Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, Political Science
  • M.A. University of California, Berkeley, Political Science
  • B.A. Williams College, Asian Studies


Chinese politics, politics of religion, contentious politics, politics of resource extraction in Latin America



  • The Politics of Protestant Churches and the Party-State in China, God Above Party? (New York: Routledge, 2017).

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • “Protestant Engagement in Social Services and Outreach Activities in Contemporary China,” (co-authored with Jianbo Huang and Jesse Sun) International Journal for the Study of the Christian Church (December 2015).

  • “Protestant Christianity and Civil Society in Authoritarian China, The Impact of Official Churches and Unregistered ‘Urban Churches’ on Civil Society Development in the 2000s,” China Perspectives 3 (2012), 43-52.

  • “Attraction without Networks: Recruiting Strangers to Unregistered Protestantism,” (co-authored  with Kevin J. O’Brien) Mobilization 12:1 (March 2007), 79-94.

Peer-Reviewed Book Chapters

  • “Three high-profile Protestant microbloggers in contemporary China: expanding public discourse or burrowing into religious niches on Weibo (China’s Twitter)?” (co-authored with Jianbo Huang), in Stefania Travagnin, ed., Religion and Media in China: Insights and Case Studies from the Mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong (Routledge, November 2016).

  • “Protestant Reactions to the Nationalism Agenda in Contemporary China,” in Francis G.K. Lim, ed., Christianity in Contemporary China, Socio-cultural Perspectives (Routledge, 2012), pp. 59-77.

  • “The State-Religion Relationship in Contemporary China: Corporatism with Hegemony,” in Jennifer Y.J. Hsu and Reza Hasmath, eds, The Chinese Corporatist State: Adaptation, Survival, and Revival (Routledge, 2012).

  • “Pathways to the Pulpit: Leadership Training in ‘Patriotic’ and Unregistered Chinese Protestant Churches,” in Yoshiko Ashiwa and David Wank, eds, Making Religion, Making the State: The Politics of Religion in Contemporary China (Stanford, 2009).

This research and previous work has been supported by Loyola’s Summer and Mid-Career Research Grants, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation, Harvard-Yenching Institute – University of Hawaii – Beijing University Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley’s Dean’s Office and Center for Chinese Studies, and the Mustard Seed Foundation.


  • PS404 Politics of Resistance in Contemporary China seminar
  • PS350 Comparative Politics
  • PS308 China and Globalization
  • PS304 Politics of the Middle East
  • PS302 Chinese Politics
  • PS101 Politics

Media interviews or Quotations


Live video interview (in Mandarin Chinese), VOA Chinese service, "With 'leading' as the fundamental work principle, does Chinese religious freedom require believing in the Chinese Communist Party first?" Voice of America (August 12, 2016). Accessed February 10, 2017. http://www.voachinese.com/a/3461688.html.

Interview with Barbara Serra, segment on “South China Sea Activity,” Al Jazeera America, “International Newshour,” April 16, 2015 (5-min expert interview).

“News Pulse, Papal Visit to the Philippines,” Channel NewsAsia, January 15, 2015.

“Between the Lines,” August 21, 2014, (http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video)

Invited blogpost Georgetown University’s Religious Freedom Project of the Berkley Center:  “China at 65: Religious Freedom is Better and Worse,” Cornerstone webpage, http://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/cornerstone/the-changing-dynamic-of-religious-freedom-in-china/responses/china-at-65-religious-freedom-is-better-and-worse-eda6d3a7-7fc3-4a69-8b8e-1755896ab758, published October 1, 2014.

Radio or podcast

Michael Lipin, VOA China 360 podcast, “What’s behind China’s Unusual Removal of Christian Church Crosses?” posted August 14, 2016, http://www.voanews.com/a/3464424.html.

U.S. and international newspapers

Sutirtho Patranobis, “Chinese nationals murdered in Balochistan not ‘preachers’, says South Korea, rejects Pakistan’s allegations,” Hindustan Times, June 14, 2017, accessed August 15, 2017, http://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/ht-exclusive-south-korea-rejects-pakistan-s-allegation-says-chinese-nationals-murdered-in-balochistan-were-not-preachers/story-j0zWFMvNomAmJhsBYSWY9H.html.

Ian Johnson, “Chinese Christians Resist Government Plan to Remove Crosses,” New York Times, August 10, 2015, http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/11/world/asia/chinese-christians-resist-government-plan-to-remove-crosses.html?emc=edit_tnt_20150811&nlid =16767078&tntemail0=y&_r=1.

Robert Marquand,  “Xi Jinping state visit: China's arrest of southern Christians intensifies,” http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2015/0925/China-state-visit-Xi-s-crackdown-on-southern-Christians-intensifies, September 25, 2015.

______________, “In China, a Church-State Showdown of Biblical Proportions,” Christian Science Monitor, http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Asia-Pacific/2015/0111/In-China-a-church-state-showdown-of-biblical-proportions, published January 11, 2015, accessed January 16, 2015.

Tom Phillips, “Chinese Christians Under Pressure from Anti-Cult Campaign,” The Telegraph, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/11198580/Chinese-Christians-under-pressure-from-anti-cult-campaign.html, published October 30, 2014.

Annelien De Greef, Der Standaard [Belgium’s largest newspaper], “Jacht op kruisen is geopend (Hunt for Christians is open),” published May 22, 2015, accessed May 27, 2015, http://www.standaard.be/cnt/dmf20150522_01694830.

Rebecca Trounson, “Kuang-hsun Ting dies at 97; bishop led Protestant church in China,” Los Angeles Times, November 28, 2012, accessed November 29, 2012, http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-1129-bishop-ting-20121129,0,6020039.story.

Edgar Dasor, “Les Deux Visages du Christianisme Chinois (The Two Images of Chinese Christianity),” published April 7, 2012, accessed April 14, 2012.

Kim Schou, “Strict Controls on Christians Fail (Streng kontrol med kristne fejler),” Kristeligt Dagblad published October 26, 2011, accessed May 15, 2012, http://www.kristeligt-dagblad.dk/artikel/437919:Udland--Streng-kontrol-med-kristne-fejler?all=1.

Donata Hardenberg, “Christianity: China’s Best Bet?” Al Jazeera, published July 1, 2011, accessed June 12, 2012.

Andrew Jacobs, “Chinese Christians Rally around Underground Church,” The New York Times, published May 12, 2011 (online and in print edition), http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/world/asia/13china.html.

Chris Buckley and Sui-Lee Wee, “Beijing Church Faces Eviction in Tense Times,” published April 3, 2011, Reuters, http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/03/us-china-church-idUSTRE7320S420110403.

John Garnaut, “Obama pressed to make a stand in Beijing for religious faith,” The Age, published November 16, 2009, accessed October 31, 2011, http://www.watoday.com.au/ world/obama-pressed-to-make-a-stand-in-beijing-for-religious-freedom-20091115-igf2.html.