Lucia M. Rafanelli

Lucia Rafanelli Headshot

Lucia M. Rafanelli

Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs

Full-time Faculty


Political theory; contemporary political theory; ethics and international affairs; theories of human rights and global justice; collective agency and collective personhood

2022: Honorable Mention, International Studies Association International Ethics Book Award

2016-2017: Laurance S. Rockefeller Graduate Prize Fellowship from the Princeton University Center for Human Values

2013: Phi Beta Kappa

The global political arena is diverse and dynamic, alive with multitudes of state and non-state actors striving to influence each other with every tool at their disposal. We need a political theory of global politics to help us navigate this arena in all its complexity. And this requires moving beyond the field’s traditional focus on states engaging in global politics by waging wars or employing other conventional tools of coercive foreign policy. Professor Rafanelli’s book, Promoting Justice Across Borders: The Ethics of Reform Intervention (Oxford University Press, 2021), takes on this task. It addresses topics such as toleration, legitimacy, collective self-determination, and the perils of activism in a non-ideal world to develop an ethics of foreign political influence well-suited to our geopolitical moment.

Professor Rafanelli is currently working on a second book project about the ethics of resistance, focusing on transnational resistance movements. This project explores the proper role of resistance in democracy while challenging the common assumption that democratic politics must occur within the nation-state. It also examines the ethics of resistance among communities who are routinely subject to the power of the state system but routinely excluded from exercising power within that system–e.g., Indigenous, undocumented, and stateless people–and leverages that examination to investigate the (il)legitimacy of the state system.

Professor Rafanelli's other research interests include corporate agency, corporate personhood, and AI ethics.

2018: Ph.D. in Politics, Princeton University

2015: M.A. in Politics, Princeton University

2013: B.A. in Government and Philosophy, Cornell University (magna cum laude in government, distinction in all subjects)

PSC 2991/PSC 2109 - Global Justice

PSC 2991 - Obligation, Obedience, and Power

IAFF 6118 - Global Justice

IAFF 6118 - The Ethics of Foreign Aid

As of 6 June 2023:



Promoting Justice Across Borders: The Ethics of Reform Intervention (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021)


Peer-Reviewed Articles

“Justice, Injustice, and Artificial Intelligence: Lessons from Political Theory and Philosophy (Commentary),” Big Data and Society 9, 1 (2022): 1-5, doi: 10.1177/20539517221080676

“Promoting Justice Across Borders,” Political Studies 69, 2 (2021): 237-56, doi: 10.1177/0032321719875402

“A Defense of Individualism in the Age of Corporate Rights,” The Journal of Political Philosophy 25, 3 (2017): 281-302, doi: 10.1111/jopp.12112


Invited Contributions & Book Reviews

“Political Craft as Moral Innovation,” forthcoming, Philosophy and Global Affairs

“Citizen Responsibility and Group Agency,” European Journal of Political Theory (2022), doi: 10.1177/14748851221105946

“Toleration and Political Change,” in Mitja Sardoč ed., The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021): 173-87, doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-03227-2_57-1

 “Toward an Individualist Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism,” Millennium: Journal of International Studies 48, 3 (2020): 360-71, doi: 10.1177/0305829820935520

Review of C.A.J. Coady, Ned Dobos, and Sagar Sanyal eds., Challenges for Humanitarian Intervention: Ethical Demand & Political Reality (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018), Journal of Moral Philosophy 17, 2 (2020): 229-32, doi: 10.1163/17455243-01702005