Alumni Authors

As a celebration of our alumni, each month we will highlight a new book written by one of Oxford's North American-based alumni.
For December 2017, our author is Sarah Bush (St Anne's College, 2003).


Sarah Bush is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Temple University. Prior to starting at Temple, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the International Security Program at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School. She received her PhD in Politics from Princeton University in November 2011

In her own words:

"My research examines how international actors try to aid democracy, promote women’s representation, and support elections in developing countries. I am the author of a recent book on this topic, The Taming of Democracy Assistance: Why Democracy Promotion Does Not Confront Dictators (Cambridge University Press). My main ongoing projects explore the effects of election observers on election credibility and the changing role of international NGOs in world politics.

My work has appeared in journals such as Comparative Political StudiesInternational OrganizationJournal of Politics, and Perspectives on Politics. I also occasionally write posts for outlets such as the Monkey Cage blog on the Washington Post and My research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and Experiments in Governance and Politics."


More about The Taming of Democracy Assistance: Why Democracy Promotion Does Not Confront Dictators

Few government programs that aid democracy abroad today seek to foster regime change. Technical programs that do not confront dictators are more common than the aid to dissidents and political parties that once dominated the field. What explains this 'taming' of democracy assistance? This book offers the first analysis of that puzzle. In contrast to previous research on democracy aid, it focuses on the survival instincts of the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that design and implement democracy assistance. To survive, Sarah Bush argues that NGOs seek out tamer types of aid, especially as they become more professional. Diverse evidence - including three decades of new project-level data, case studies of democracy assistance in Jordan and Tunisia, and primary documents gathered from NGO archives - supports the argument. This book provides new understanding of foreign influence and moral actors in world politics, with policy implications for democracy in the Middle East.


You can purchase The Taming of Democracy Assistance on Amazon.

Follow Sarah on Twitter! @sarahsunnbush


Are you an alumni author?

If you have written a book which was published within the last three years, or is due to be released soon, please email us the following information.

Your full name
Alumni number (or college/year of matriculation)
Title of book
Date of publication
Link to purchase the book online

We thank you for sharing your books with us, and will let you know if you are selected for a feature in the coming months.

Overhead view of Radcliffe Camera and adjacent colleges