Richard Sugarman

Richard Sugarman (born July 12, 1944) is an American academic and political consultant. He is a professor of religion at the University of Vermont and "a world-renowned expert on the Lithuanian-born philosopher Emmanuel Levinas."[2] He was an advisor to presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on his 2016 presidential campaign.

Richard Sugarman
Born Richard Ira Sugarman
July 12, 1944 (age 74)
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
Residence Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
Alma mater Yale University
Boston University
Occupation Academic, political advisor
Spouse(s) Linda Sugarman
Children 3

Early life

Richard Sugarman was born in Buffalo, New York.[2] He is of Ukrainian Jewish descent on his paternal side and of English Jewish descent on his maternal side.[2] His father's family were Hasidic Jews; his mother was a Reform Jew.[2] His father was a serial entrepreneur.[2]

Sugarman received his B.A. cum laude in philosophy from Yale University in 1966; his roommate was Joe Lieberman, who later served as United States Senator.[3][2] One of his professors was John Daniel Wild, and he also was mentored by Paul Weiss.[2] After serving as a Carnegie Teaching Fellow in philosophy at Yale during the 1966-1967 academic year, he went on to receive an M.A. from Yale in 1969 and a Ph.D. from Boston University in 1976, both in philosophy.[3] His thesis was entitled, Toward a Phenomenology of Ressentiment.[4]

Academic career

Following his Carnegie Fellowship, Sugarman resumed teaching as a part-time instructor of philosophy and religion at the University of Vermont in 1970.[2] He became a full-time instructor of philosophy and religion in 1971 before moving to the newly-formed religion department in 1974.[2] In addition to receiving tenure in 1978, he was subsequently promoted to assistant professor (1976), associate professor (1986) and professor (2002) of religion. The author of several books, he specializes in the interstices between phenomenology, Jewish philosophy, existentialism, and ancient and modern humanities.[3] He is also "a world-renowned expert on the Lithuanian-born philosopher Emmanuel Levinas."[2]

According to Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka, "one of his journal articles in Phenomenological Inquiry was on Pope John Paul II's nightstand the day he died."[2]

Political consultancy career

Sugarman encouraged Bernie Sanders to run for mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981 after the two had lived together.[5][6] He was an advisor to the 2016 Bernie Sanders presidential campaign.[3]

Personal life

Sugarman has a wife, Linda, and three children.[2] They reside in Burlington, Vermont.[2] Sugarman has arthritis.[2] He is an Orthodox Jew and attended Congregation Ahavath Gerim.[2] He is also an "unapologetic Zionist."[2]


  • Sugarman, Richard (1980). Rancor Against Time: The Phenomenology of 'Ressentiment'. Hamburg: F. Meiner. ISBN 9783787304561. OCLC 6598022.
  • Sugarman, Richard; Simone, R. Thomas (1986). Reclaiming the Humanities: The Roots of Self-Knowledge in the Greek and Biblical Worlds. Lanham, Maryland: University Press of America. ISBN 9780819150936. OCLC 12695582.
  • Sugarman, Richard; Duncan, Roger B. (2006). The Promise of Phenomenology: Posthumous Papers of John Wild. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books. ISBN 9780739109427. OCLC 61651779.


  1. ^ Keith, Tamara (November 2, 2015). "Sanders Could Be The First Jewish President, But He Doesn't Like To Talk About It". NPR. Retrieved January 18, 2016. One of Sanders' best friends of 40 years is a professor of religion and philosophy at the University of Vermont. Richard Sugarman, an Orthodox Jew, says his friend is a secularist, a humanist — with no connection to organized religion.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Picard, Ken (December 12, 2012). "The Wondering Jew: For UVM prof Richard Sugarman, life's big questions are the sweetest pursuit". Seven Days. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d "Faculty-Richard Sugarman". College of Arts and Sciences. The University of Vermont. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  4. ^ "Toward a phenomenology of ressentiment". WorldCat. Retrieved January 18, 2016.
  5. ^ Lewis, Paul (June 19, 2015). "Inside the mind of Bernie Sanders: unbowed, unchanged, and unafraid of a good fight". The Guardian. Retrieved January 18, 2016. It was Sugarman who, in 1981, persuaded Sanders to run for mayor of Burlington, the rural city 40 miles from the Canadian border where the pair were roommates.
  6. ^ Bredderman, Will (May 26, 2015). "How Bernie Sanders Points the Way for New York's Outsider Candidates". The New York Observer. Retrieved January 18, 2016.

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