Lucia M. Rafanelli

Rafanelli Headshot

Lucia M. Rafanelli

Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs



Office Phone: (202) 994-2520


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


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.

PSC 2991 - Obligation, Obedience, and Power

PSC 2991 - Global Justice

IAFF 6118 - The Ethics of Foreign Aid

IAFF6118 - Global Justice

As of 30 August 2021:


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

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “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

  • "Toleration and Political Change,” (2021, doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-03227-2_57-1) in Mitja Sardoč ed., The Palgrave Handbook of Toleration (Palgrave Macmillan, forthcoming)
  • “Toward an Individualist Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism,” contribution to a symposium on Adom Getachew’s Worldmaking After Empire: The Rise and Fall of Self- Determination (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2019), Millennium: Journal of International Studies (2020), 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

Ph.D., Princeton University, 2018

M.A., Princeton University, 2015

B.A., Cornell University, 2013