Sarah Burns Receives IHS Sabbatical Fellowship

RIT professor’s book to explore value of promoting economic institutions as foreign policy 

The Institute for Humane Studies is pleased to announce Sarah Burns, associate professor of political science at Rochester Institute of Technology, as a recent recipient of the IHS Sabbatical Research Fellowship. Through IHS support, she intends to complete her book manuscript on the value of developing economic institutions as a non-violent method of foreign intervention.

Burns’ book will address American foreign policy attempts to impose democracy on a variety of countries with the goal of making those countries free and the world less violent. The project will offer objective reasons why these efforts are a product of the misguided decision to apply Democratic Peace Theory to American foreign policy.

Sarah Burns
Sarah Burns

“Those who promote economic interdependence have better evidence to show that it produces positive results — namely a more integrated and less violent world — without the negative results we see from the efforts to democratize other nations, especially using the U.S. military.”

– Sarah Burns

Her other research focuses on the process of constitution design and she regularly writes about war powers, American foreign policy, democratic peace theory, and elections. She received her doctorate degree in political science from Claremont Graduate University and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Toronto.


Burns also serves as an IHS Senior Fellow for the Study of Liberalism and a Free Society, where she and other faculty from around the country convene regularly to discuss challenges to the liberal ideal both within and beyond academia.

The Sabbatical Research Fellowship is available for faculty seeking to further the study, research, or teaching of classical liberal ideas. The semester-long sabbatical supports a diverse collection of scholars across a wide range of academic disciplines within the humanities and social sciences.

Burns is the second recipient of our Sabbatical award in 2021, alongside Timothy McCarty of the University of San Diego.

For more information on the Sabbatical Research Fellowship, additional funding opportunities, the Fellowship for the Study of Liberalism and a Free Society, or faculty feature stories from the IHS 60th celebration, visit

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