Ani Sarkissian is an associate professor of political science at Michigan State University (MSU) and an associate scholar with the Berkley Center's Religious Freedom Project. A core faculty member of MSU’s Muslim Studies Program and Center for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, her research focuses on comparing and investigating the role of religion in politics in countries around the world. Her book The Varieties of Religious Repression: Why Governments Restrict Religion (2015) examines how and why authoritarian regimes use religious restrictions as an instrument of their rule. With Robert Dowd and Paul Kollman she is drafting a book manuscript investigating the political consequences of Roman Catholic charismatic renewal in Sub-Saharan Africa, based on their research in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa. Sarkissian received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2006, where she received grants from the National Science Foundation and IREX to develop her dissertation on religion and democratization.