William Paul Simmons Ph.D.

Director, Human Rights Practice Program

William Paul Simmons is Professor of Gender & Women's Studies and 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 Joyful Human Rights (Penn 2019), Human Rights Law and the Marginalized Other (Cambridge UP, 2011), and An-archy and Justice: An Introduction to Emmanuel Levinas’ Political Thought (Lexington, 2003). 

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 was published in the DuBois Review and another is forthcoming in International Migration 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 has also started working with two former MA students and several other colleagues on a participatory art/video/mapping project with Rohingya children in Bangladesh.  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, Bangladesh, Mexico and the United States.  Simmons was the founding director of the MA program in Social Justice and Human Rights at Arizona State University