Shekhar (they/them) graduated from MIT in September 2022 with an interdisciplinary PhD in Public Policy and Environmental Philosophy. His doctoral work was advised by MIT Professors Janelle Knox-Hayes, Larry Susskind, Chap Lawson, Sally Haslanger, Bish Sanyal, and Asya Magazinnik. His research interests are the political economy, critical theory, ethics, and philosophy of environment. His research is international in scope, comparative in focus, and highly collaborative in nature; it relies on epistemological pluralism and exploits both qualitative and quantitative methods for evidence.
He is currently working on a book project titled, “The Logic of Corruption in Government Bureaucracies” based on his dissertation work. The book engages with the twin questions of why corruption exists and persists in government bureaucracies and why anti-corruption reforms are challenging to implement. In parallel to the book project, he is working on two research projects. First, with Janelle Knox-Hayes, he is conceptualizing Indigenous environmental justice using the capability approach. In this work, he also collaborates with an Indigenous tribe in Louisiana, the members of which are the first climate refugees in the United States. Second, with Sally Haslanger, he uses social choice theory to build on the comparative political thought of Smith, Condorcet, and Wollstonecraft. An analytical approach to justice based on social choice theory allows him to accommodate the limitations resulting from the a priori institutional demands in the social contract-based transcendental justice theories of Hobbes, Kant, and Rawls. This conceptualization contributes to a reframing of global climate change, poverty alleviation, and human rights as global justice problems, and addresses the larger debate on the kind of universal rights and liberties to be achieved at the global level. With Professor Haslanger, he is also working on the distinctiveness of Foucauldian Power in a phenomenological examination of gender discrimination. He is especially concerned with the kind of power not captured by liberal and Marxist paradigms.