William Simmons

Professor, Gender & Women's Studies

Director, Human Rights Practice Program 

William Paul Simmons, P.h.D., is Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and the Director of the online Human Rights Practice graduate program at the University of Arizona. His research is highly interdisciplinary; using theoretical, legal, and empirical approaches to advance human rights for marginalized populations around the globe.  His books include His books include Human Rights Law and the Marginalized Other (Cambridge UP, 2011), An-archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’ Political Thought (Lexington, 2003), and the forthcoming Joyful Human Rights (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). 

With Carol Mueller he edited Binational Human Rights: The U.S.-Mexico Experience published by the University of Pennsylvania Press (2014).  With Michelle Téllez, he has conducted ethnographic research on sexual violence against migrant women in the Arizona-Sonora corridor.  He has published two articles and a book chapter exploring legal remedies for the feminicides in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico; one of the articles helped inform the groundbreaking case against Mexico in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.  He is working with Cecilia Menjívar analyzing a large data set of over 2000 Latinos in 4 large U.S. cities on the gendered effects of the Secure Communities program. An article from that research is forthcoming in the DuBois Review.

Simmons is currently working on a project in Niger, Nigeria, and Mozambique to empower people affected by leprosy using international human rights documents.  He is also exploring possible research projects on comparative immigration between the West Africa-Europe and Mexico-US corridors, as well as the effects of desertification and arid lands on migration and conflict.

He has served as a consultant on human rights and social justice issues in The Gambia (West Africa), Niger, Nigeria, China, Mexico and the United States.  Simmons was the founding director of the MA program in Social Justice and Human Rights at Arizona State University.