Mary Shiraef

Visiting Lecturer in Political Science

Mary A. Shiraef is a graduate student in Political Science, with Mixed Methods research that also draws from the fields of Philosophy, Anthopology, History, Education, and Sociology. Her current ​work examines how group identities are constructed and how the content of collective memories shape groups’ participation in politics. She is completing ongoing field research in Greece, and currently designing a nation-wide survey on civic participation, public protest and identity-building.

Mary has a Master’s degree in International Relations from the University of St Andrews where she focused on International Political Theory and studied Aristotle and the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer under the late Nicholas Rengger. She also has a Master's degree in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame where she studies with comparative political theorist, Fred Dallmayr and with comparativists, Guillermo Trejo, James McAdams and Debra Javeline on the question of why Greek people tend to participate in protest more than their southern European neighbors. Following the completion of her B.A. in Political Science from Emory University, she taught History, Economics and Politics to Indian high school students near Bangalore at the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, a school designed to lift children born into the Dalits caste out of poverty. Several of her former students were recently featured in the Netflix docu-series, Daughters of Destiny, showcasing their stories and recent college and career achievements. 

Mary can read Ancient Greek, read and speak Modern Greek, and communicate in Thai. She has published one peer-reviewed article explaining the rise of the neo-fascist political party in Greece called Golden Dawn (2013), as well as several non peer-reviewed articles of academic interest, such as her piece What Good is a Liberal Education? : Tocqueville and Education as a Public Good.

Courses Taught

Introduction to Political Science (Sole-Lecturer)

Classical Political Thought (Sole-Lecturer)

Modern Political Thought (Sole-Lecturer)

Introduction to Comparative Politics (Teaching Assistant)


Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Notre Dame, Honorable Mention, 2018

Nanovic Institute for European Studies Fellowship, 2018

Dean's Scholar, University of Notre Dame, 2016-2018

R&A Fellowship, University of St Andrews, for "philanthropic commitment to education", 2015



From Fighting Nazis to Electing Nazis: the Rise of Golden Dawn in Greece,” Cornell International Affairs Review (CIAR), 7(1), 47-53, 2013.


 “An Open Letter to my Donors: Ransome Scholar shares lessons learned at St Andrews,” The Saint, Feb 4 2016.

“What Good is a Liberal Arts Education?: Tocqueville and Education as a Public Good,” Agora, June 2014.

Lasting Lessons: Reflections on Tocqueville and the Life of Tocqueville Scholar, Randall Strahan,” Emory Magazine, Spring 2014.


  • “The Politics of Time in International Relations”, Millennium: Journal of International Studies Annual Conference, University College London (UCL), 2018, Conference Delegate and Chair

  •  “Locating Freedom with Habermas contra the ‘Schmittiness’ of Trump’s Politics”, Annual Conference in International Political Theory, University of St Andrews, 2017, Presenter

  • “Arendt and Tocqueville on Anti-intellectualism in Democracy,” Annual Conference in International Political Theory, University of St Andrews, 2014, Presenter

  • “What Good is a Liberal Arts Education?: Tocqueville and Education as a Public Good,” Chicago, 2013, Presenter


Research Interests

Questions of Political Inclusion and the Refugee Crisis

Protest Politics, Group Memory and Collective Agency

Nationalism and Transnational to Global Political Problems

The Relationship between Group Identity and Immigration

Classical Political Thought

Early Modern Political Thought

The History of the Modern Greek Identity

Democratic Theory

Hermeneutics and Education

Far-Right Parties, Propaganda and Populism

Mixed Methods and Normative Inquiry