Postdoctoral Fellow, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, 2018-present
Justitia Amplificata Centre for Advanced Studies
Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellow, Stanford University, 2016–18
Primary appointment: McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society
Secondary appointment: Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS)
Ph.D. Princeton University, Department of Politics, June 2016
Dissertation: “Donors’ Democracy: Private Philanthropy and Political Morality”
Committee: Charles Beitz, Melissa Lane, Philip Pettit
M.A. Princeton University, Department of Politics, May 2013
Exam fields: Political Theory, Comparative Politics, Ethics (Department of Philosophy)
A.B. Harvard University, Department of Government, June 2008
“Being Good in a World of Uncertainty: A Reply to Larry Temkin.” Journal of Practical Ethics (forthcoming).
“The Effective Altruist’s Political Problem.” Polity (forthcoming).
“Political Theory and the Nonprofit Sector” (with Rob Reich). In The Nonprofit Sector: A Research Handbook. 3rd edn. Edited by Walter Powell and Patricia Bromley. Stanford: Stanford University Press, forthcoming.
“‘That the Earth Belongs in Usufruct to the Living’: Intergenerational Philanthropy and the Problem of Dead-Hand Control.” In Giving in Time. Edited by Ray Madoff and Ben Soskis. Lanham: Rowman and Littlefield, forthcoming.
WORKS IN PROGRESS
Donors’ Democracy: Private Philanthropy and Political Morality (book manuscript).
Abstract: The practice of philanthropy, which voluntarily releases private property for public purposes, represents in many ways the best angels of our nature. But this practice’s noteworthy virtues often blind us to the fact that philanthropy also represents the exercise of private power. Donors Democracy argues that this private power threatens the value of democracy, and the risk is grave. The ability to commit private wealth for public ends rivals the authority of communities to determine their own affairs. And, in societies characterized by wide disparities in wealth, philanthropy combines with background inequality to make public decisions overwhelmingly sensitive to the preferences of the rich. Allowing private wealth to control social outcomes collides with core commitments of a democratic society, a society in which persons are supposed to determine their common affairs together, on equal terms.
But why exactly is democracy valuable? How should these values be weighed against the liberty of donors and the many social benefits that philanthropy promises? Donors’ Democracy explores these questions by examining various aspects of the practice of philanthropy: state support for private giving, the use of donations for political speech, the temporal duration of donor intent, the responsibility for providing public goods, the justification for corporate philanthropy, and the practical ethics of giving. These studies build to a surprising conclusion: democracy cannot survive without philanthropy—but making philanthropy safe for democracy also requires radical changes to law and practice. In the process, the book illustrates how engagement with empirical phenomena challenges leading perspectives in contemporary political theory.
“Justice and Humanity in Access to Medicine: MSF’s Rejection of Free Vaccines.” Working paper.
“Donations and Democracy.” Working paper.
Res Publica (2018–present)
Journal of Moral Philosophy (2018–present)
Journal of Political Philosophy (2017–present)
Journal of Politics (2017–present)
Rockefeller Foundation Junior Scholars Forum (2017–2018)
Princeton Graduate Conference in Political Theory (2011–2016)
HONORS AND AWARDS
Postgraduate Travel Fund Grant, Society for Applied Philosophy, June 2016, July 2018
McWilliams Best Graduate Student Paper in Political Theory Award, Northeastern Political Science Association, April 2016
Teaching Transcript Certificate, McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning, Princeton University, Spring 2016
Laurance S. Rockefeller Graduate Prize Fellowship, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, 2014–2015
Political Philosophy Summer Travel and Research Fund grants, University Center of Human Values, Princeton University, Summer 2014, Spring 2015, Fall 2015
Merit Prize, University Center for Human Values, Princeton University, Fall 2010
Eric Firth Prize, Department of Government, Harvard University, Spring 2008
Donors’ Democracy book manuscript workshop (with comments by Nan Keohane, Emilee Chapman, Leif Wenar, Debra Satz, and Minh Ly), Stanford University, June 15, 2018
“Is the Private Provision of Public Goods Legitimate?” Presented at:
American Political Science Association annual meeting, Boston, Mass., Aug. 31, 2018
International Society for Third-Sector Research annual conference, University of Amsterdam, July 13, 2018
Midwest Political Science Association annual conference, Chicago, IL, Apr. 8, 2018 (scheduled)
Cornell-Stanford Conference on Public Goods and Rising Inequality, Stanford University, Nov. 2, 2017
“Justice and Humanity in Access to Medicine: MSF’s Rejection of Free Vaccines,” Research Workshop on Humanitarian NGOs and Pharmaceutical Donations, Stanford PACS / Center for Ethics in Society, May 10, 2017
“Is the Social Responsibility of Business to Increase Profits?” Pimms and Papers discussion group, San Francisco, California, February 26, 2017
“‘That the Earth Belongs in Usufruct to the Living’: Perpetual Philanthropy and the Problem of Perpetual Power,” presented at:
Stanford Political Theory Workshop, Stanford University, Stanford, California, October 21, 2016
Seminar in Nonprofit and Philanthropic Studies, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, Indianapolis, Indiana, October 11, 2016
Giving in Time: Scholars’ Conference, Boston College Law School, Newton, Massachusetts, September 23, 2016
International Society for Third-Sector Research annual conference, Ersta Skondal University College, Stockholm, Sweden, June 30, 2016
“The Effective Altruist’s Dilemma,” presented at:
Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) annual conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, November 16–18, 2017
American Political Science Association annual meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 2, 2016
Conference on “The New Philanthropy: Effective Altruism and Beyond,” Yale Global Justice Program / Academics Stand Against Poverty, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, May 7, 2016
“Donations and Democracy,” presented at:
Princeton-LSE Workshop on Democratic Theory and Practice, Princeton University, May 4, 2016
Northeastern Political Science Association annual meeting, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, November 13, 2015
Harvard Graduate Conference in Political Theory, Government Department, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, October 23, 2015
Western Political Science Association annual meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 4, 2015
“Charity’s Injustice,” Why Charity conference, Center for Applied Philosophy, Ethics, and Politics, University of Brighton, July 7, 2014
“One Big Problem with How Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos are Spending a Small Share of Their Fortune,” The Conversation, Sep. 19, 2018, https://theconversation.com/one-big-problem-with-how-jeff-and-mackenzie-bezos-are-spending-a-small-share-of-their-fortune-103311
“An Ethical Guide to Responsible Giving,” The Conversation, Nov. 28, 2017, https://theconversation.com/an-ethical-guide-to-responsible-giving-87984. Republished by Chicago Tribute, among others.
“Why Harvey Weinstein Can’t Redeem Himself through Charity Alone,” The Conversation, Oct. 16, 2017, https://theconversation.com/why-harvey-weinstein-cant-redeem-himself-through-charity-alone-85790.
“What Jeff Bezos Gets Wrong (and Right) with his Populist Philanthropy,” The Conversation, June 26, 2017, https://theconversation.com/what-jeff-bezos-gets-wrong-and-right-with-his-populist-philanthropy-79740. Republished by Salon, Business Insider, SFGate, and others.
“Is Populist Criticism of Philanthropy Justified?” HistPhil, May 11, 2017, https://histphil.org/2017/05/11/is-populist-criticism-of-philanthropy-justified/
Principal Instructor, The Ethics and Politics of Effective Altruism, Stanford University, Spring 2018
Assistant-in-Instruction, Practical Ethics, Prof. Peter Singer, Princeton University, Fall 2015
Assistant-in-Instruction, Global Justice, Prof. Charles Beitz, Princeton University, Spring 2014
Assistant-in-Instruction, Ethics and Public Policy, Prof. Stephen Macedo, Princeton University, Fall 2013
Read: Latin, French, Spanish
RELATED WORK EXPERIENCE
Program Assistant, Social Science Research Council, Brooklyn, New York, 2009–2010
Communications Associate, Corporate Accountability International, Boston, Mass., 2008–2009
“Access to Knowledge” (uncredited). In The Measure of America 2010-2011: Mapping Risks and Resilience, edited by Kristen Lewis and Sarah Burd-Sharps, 110–51. New York: Social Science Research Council & New York University Press, 2010.
Burd-Sharps, Sarah, Patrick Guyer, Ted Lechterman, and Kristen Lewis. “Proposal for the Development of a ‘Tots Index’ Using the Human Development Conceptual Framework.” In Global Child Poverty and Well-Being, edited by Alberto Minujin and Shailen Nandy, 155–78. Bristol: Policy Press, 2012.
Burd-Sharps, Sarah, Patrick Guyer, Ted Lechterman, and Kristen Lewis. “The American Human Development Project: Results from Mississippi and Louisiana.” In Community Quality-of-Life Indicators: Best Cases V, edited by M. Joseph Sirgy, Rhonda Phillips, and Don R. Rahtz, vol. 3: 113–36. New York: Springer, 2011.
Burd-Sharps, Sarah, Kristen Lewis, Patrick Guyer, and Ted Lechterman. “Twenty Years of Human Development in Six Affluent Countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.” United Nations Development Programme Human Development Reports, Human Development Research Paper 2010/27. October 2010.
References available upon request.
Last revised: Sept. 11, 2018