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Emma Saunders-Hastings

Emma Saunders-Hastings

Emma Saunders-Hastings

Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science; Coordinator, Political Theory Workshop


Areas of Expertise

  • Political Theory
  • Philanthropy
  • Feminism


  • Ph.D. Harvard University (Government)
  • M.Phil. University of Cambridge (International Relations)
  • B.A. Queen's University (Political Studies)

Professor Saunders-Hastings is a political theorist whose research focuses on political, economic, and social inequality, with particular attention to the role of private power. Her recent book, Private Virtues, Public Vices: Philanthropy and Democratic Equality, develops a normative political theory of philanthropy.

Private Virtues, Public Vices book cover



The book links philanthropy to longstanding moral and political concerns about paternalism and unequal political influence. It also asks what kinds of public regulation of and responses to philanthropy are appropriate.

Her broader research and teaching interests include normative political theory, democratic theory, modern and contemporary political thought, non-ideal and institutional theory, and feminist theories. Her work has been published in leading journals including the American Political Science Review and The Journal of Politics

At Ohio State, Saunders-Hastings also organizes the interdisciplinary Political Theory Workshop, hosted by the Department of Political Science, and is a member of the steering committee of the Center for Ethics and Human Values (CEHV). Before coming to Ohio State, she was a Harper Fellow in the Society of Fellows at the University of Chicago and a postdoctoral scholar at the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (Stanford PACS).