Sharon R. Krause Royce Family Professor of Teaching Excellence, Professor of Political Science

Sharon Krause is Professor of Political Science. She is the author of Freedom Beyond Sovereignty: Reconstructing Liberal Individualism (University of Chicago Press, 2015); Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and Democratic Deliberation (Princeton University Press, 2008); and Liberalism with Honor (Harvard University Press, 2002). She is currently writing a book called Ecology and Emancipation, which explores the relationship between the human domination of nature and the political, economic, and social domination of human beings. She has also published numerous articles on topics in classical and contemporary liberalism ranging from Hume and Montesquieu to Simone de Beauvoir and the contemporary politics of justice, freedom, and social inequality. Her book Civil Passions won the 2010 Spitz Prize for best book in liberal or democratic theory from the Conference for the Study of Political Thought  and the 2009 Alexander George Book Award for best book in political psychology from the International Society of Political Psychology. Her work has appeared in such journals as Political Theory, The Review of Politics, Politics and Gender, Contemporary Political Theory, Philosophy and Social Criticism, Polity, and History of Political Thought. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College, an M.T.S. from Harvard Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in political theory from Harvard University.

Brown Affiliations

research overview

Sharon Krause works on a range of topics in political theory including classical and contemporary liberalism; freedom and political agency; power, social inequality, and emancipatory politics; passions and politics; gender and politics;  ecology and political theory; and public deliberation.

research statement

Professor Krause's latest book, Freedom Beyond Sovereignty: Reconstructing Liberal Individualism (University of Chicago Press, 2015), investigates the informal and often unintentional dynamics (such as implicit bias and cultural stigma) that undermine freedom in systematic ways for members of minority groups in ostensibly free societies such as the United States. Freedom is vulnerable to these dynamics because human agency is an intersubjective, non-sovereign experience that eludes personal control and extends beyond intentional choice. At the same time, agency is not reducible to socially constructed identities or prevailing relations of power; indeed, the agency of the oppressed sometimes surprises us with its vitality. Only by understanding the deep dynamics of agency as simultaneously non-sovereign and robust can we remediate the failed freedom of those on the losing end of persistent inequalities and grasp the scope of our own responsibilities for social change. Freedom Beyond Sovereignty brings experiences of those who are marginalized in American society today to the center of political theory and the study of freedom, with a special focus on inequalities of race, gender, and sexual orientation. It shows that none of the prevailing models of political freedom today is adequate once the non-sovereignty of human agency is acknowledged, and it defends a new pluralism of freedom. The book fundamentally reconstructs liberal individualism, and it advances our understanding of human action, personal responsibility, resistance to oppression, and the meaning of liberty.

Professor Krause's second book, Civil Passions: Moral Sentiment and Democratic Deliberation (Princeton University Press, 2008), examines the relationship between reason and passion within political judgment and public deliberation. Must we put passions aside when we deliberate about justice? Can we do so? The dominant views of deliberation rightly emphasize the importance of impartiality as a cornerstone of fair decision-making, but they wrongly assume that impartiality means being disengaged and passionless. Civil Passions argues that moral and political deliberation necessarily incorporate passions, even as it insists on the value of impartiality. Drawing on resources ranging from Hume's theory of moral sentiment to recent findings in neuroscience, the book offers a systematic account of how passions can generate an impartial standpoint for deliberating about justice. By illuminating how impartiality feels, Civil Passions offers not only a truer account of how we deliberate about justice but one that promises to engage citizens more effectively in acting for justice. More on Civil Passions

Professor Krause's first book, Liberalism with Honor (Harvard University Press, 2002), explores the sources of spirited political action in modern liberal democracies. Why do men and women sometimes risk their necks to defend their liberties? What motivates principled opposition to the abuse of power? Liberalism with Honor shows the sense of honor to be an important source of such action. Although often dismissed as a vestige of old world aristocracy, honor still matters for liberal democratic societies today and is an important support for individual freedom. It combines self-concern with principled higher purposes, and so challenges the disabling dichotomy between self-interest and self-sacrifice that currently pervades both political theory and American public life. Moreover, while most of the time liberal democracy can get by with good citizens, occasionally it needs great ones -- men and women of unusual courage and extraordinary ambition who distinguish themselves by rising when others will not to the spirited defense of individual liberties.


funded research

National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2005-06 ($24,000)

National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Research Stipend, 2003 ($5,000)

Clark Fund Faculty Fellowship, Harvard University, 2003 ($3,500)

John M. Olin Foundation Faculty Fellowship, 1999-2000 ($61,000)