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Carsten Vala, Ph.D.

Department Chair, Professor
Carsten Vala Headshot 2023


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

Courses Taught

  • 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



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


  • “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.

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.

Areas of Specialization 

  • Chinese politics
  • Politics of religion
  • Contentious politics
  • Politics of resource extraction in Latin America

Media Interviews or Quotations


Radio or Podcast


Faculty Appointments

  • Professor, 2021-present
  • Associate Professor, 2014-2021
  • Fueflbright Scholar, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Fall 2015
  • Assistant Professor, 2008-2014