William Felice

Professor of Political Science

Forrer 122


  • Ph.D., New York University
William F. Felice


Dr. Felice teaches courses in international political economy, international law, international organization, and human rights. His research and scholarship focuses on normative issues of rights and justice within our global society. Dr. Felice previously served as a representative to the United Nations for a human rights non-governmental organization. He is the author of Introduction to International Politics: Global Challenges and Policy Responses, Taking Suffering SeriouslyThe Ethics of Interdependence: Global Human Rights and DutiesThe Global New Deal and How Do I Save My Honor?.

Dr. Felice was named the 2006 Florida Professor of the Year by the prestigious Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The U.S. Professors of the Year Program, administered by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), is the only national initiative specifically designed to recognize excellence in undergraduate teaching and mentoring.

Featured Works

  • A recent article titled Justice and Human Rights at Eckerd College discusses Prof. Felice’s approach to teaching international relations.
  • Prof. Felice has published five books on human rights and ethics in international relations, described below.

Introduction to International Politics: Global Challenges and Policy Responses

Introduction to International Politics makes systematic linkages between theory and policy that do not ignore or slight the conceptual discussion of international relations or simply chase newspaper headlines. Please read the full description on williamfelice.com.

The Global New Deal

Close to half of humanity–2.8 billion people–barely survive on less than $2 a day. The less developed countries often face economic deprivation caused not by state action or inaction, but by the global economic system itself. In addition, basic human rights as guaranteed by international law defined by the United Nations are violated daily. The Global New Deal investigates six key areas central to the achievement of economic and social human rights: the international political economy, the UN, ecosystem protection, racial bias, gender equality, and military spending. The author then introduces what he calls the “global new deal,” a set of international policy proposals designed to protect the vulnerable and end needless suffering. These structural reforms provide a viable means by which to safeguard social and economic human rights for all.

“In this groundbreaking book, William Felice demonstrates the necessity of approaching human rights in its full complexity, and how a comprehensive approach to the subject may bring about real change for people suffering from severe human rights violations.” – Sigrun I. Skogly, Lancaster University Law School

“The central value of the volume is its discussion of the variety of existing institutions and laws that potentially can be harnessed to address global poverty. Recommended.” – Choice

“This book amounts to that rare beast: an intelligent text that, as it informs, makes an interesting argument of its own. It also advances a set of specific proposals that could inspire lively class discussion and debate.” – Michael J. Smith, Sorensen Professor of Political and Social Thought, University of Virginia

“Through knowledge and imagination, solid evidence and insightful analysis, William Felice demonstrates that a global new deal is a viable alternative to the untenable status quo. He shows how getting there is a well-informed, deliberate process of ‘globalization from below,’ not a jump of faith! This book is a valuable resource for scholars and students of international relations and human rights, and an inspiring and empowering challenge to practitioners, local activists, and global citizens everywhere.” – Abdullahi A. An-Na’Im, Charles Howard Candler Professor of Law, Emory University

“Felice’s well-conceived proposals for enhanced benevolent global governance offer the only practical solutions to the social cancer of mass poverty, which is undermining world stability. His proposals are likely to dominate the ongoing debate concerning the means for achieving a more humane and sustainable globalization.” – Maurice Williams, former assistant secretary-general, United Nations

Taking Suffering Seriously

The Importance of Collective Human Rights
William F. Felice
Foreward by Richard Falk
“This book is a lucid, scholarly, and provacative contribution to a developing literature on the human rights of groups, peoples, or collectivities. It is deeply researched and well-argued–the sort of book that makes a good case for all its views. Its signal contribution lies in its conjoining theoretical and empirical treatments of human rights into a coherent central argument. This is an outstanding and original treatment of an important body of material that will establish the author as a leading figure in debates within the field of human rights and international relations.” -Michael Joseph Smith, University of Virginia

Taking Suffering Seriously examines the evolution and development of the concept of collective human rights in international relations. Focusing on the tension between the rights of the individual member of society and the collective rights of certain groups, Felice argues that the protection of human dignity requires an expansion of our understanding of human rights to include those collective group rights often violated by state and global structures. He advocates a third way, between liberalism and Marxism, to move toward a world in which decision-making is based on norms of meeting basic human needs and true equality.

“This book is a significant contribution to the literature on people’s rights. Felice writes in a clear and lucid fashion. He has a mastery of the significant strands of contemporary political theory so that his elaboration and exposition of people’s rights are useful to both students and lay readers. His grasp of the global, political, economic, and cultural scene is comprehensive and sure-footed.” -Saul Mendlovitz, Co-Director, World Order Models Project, and Dag Hammarskjold Professor, Rutgers Law School

“William Felice has provided us with the clearest presentation yet available of the land-scape of human suffering. He has also sharpened the normative tools useful for acheiving collective human rights. This conceptual recasting of the human rights discourse is a coherent and hopeful way to make the difficult civilizational passage from modernity to a type of postmodernity that is reconstructive, not deconstructive.” -from the Foreward by Richard Falk

William F. Felice is Professor, International Relations and Global Affairs, Eckerd College.

A volume in the SUNY series in Global Conflict and Peace Education. Betty Reardon, editor. State University of New York Press

How Do I Save My Honor?

When people decide that the actions of their government have violated basic norms of ethics and justice, what are they to do? Are there degrees of moral responsibility that public officials, soldiers, and private citizens bear for unethical actions of their leaders and government?

In a new book, How Do I Save My Honor? War, Moral Integrity, and Principled Resignation (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2009), William F. Felice, Eckerd College Professor of Political Science, considers these central ethical questions through the compelling stories of individuals in the U.S. and British government and military who struggled to protect their moral integrity during the Iraq war and occupation.

How Do I Save My Honor? analyzes the actions of former Secretary of State Colin Powell and State Department intelligence expert Wayne White; assesses the decisions of U.S. Foreign Service members Brady Kiesling, John Brown, and Ann Wright; traces the decisions of two soldiers who refused to serve in Iraq; and considers the resignations of key members of the Blair government in Britain who resigned to protest the war in Iraq.

Through extensive personal interviews and correspondence, Professor Felice learned that some came to the difficult conclusion that resignation from their post was necessary to maintain their responsibility to the truth and to uphold their honor. Others decided to work from within to try to correct what they perceived as misguided policies.

How Do I Save My Honor? is available for purchase through online retailers Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com and directly from the publisher.

The Ethics of Interdependence: Global Human Rights and Duties

In this powerful book, William F. Felice argues that a new range of human rights duties for individuals, nation states, and global institutions has emerged in our modern interconnected era. He investigates the compelling ideas of ethical interdependence and new global human rights duties in four case studies: mass incarceration in the United States, LGBT rights in Africa, women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, and environmental rights in China. Felice argues that in all four cases a “human-rights threshold” has been surpassed, and urgent action is needed to address unacceptable levels of human suffering. Beginning with a primer on how the international community through the United Nations has codified international human rights law, Felice explores the conflicts between rights, problems of compliance, and the difficulties that emerge when cultural and religious rights are privileged over the rights of individuals and groups. He shows that a robust normative framework of global governance and global citizenship is central to the actualization of human rights protection for all.

“The Ethics of Interdependence brilliantly demonstrates why we should support human rights at home and abroad, framing the argument in lucid prose, enlivened by four fascinating case studies. I regard Felice’s book as necessary reading for both college students and citizens of conscience everywhere.”
– Richard Falk, Albert G. Milbank Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

“William F. Felice’s book shines a clear light on American citizens’ moral interdependence with those around the world. It is an exemplary blend of dispassionate analysis and clear ethical commitment. Highly recommended.”
– Brent Pickett, University of Wyoming

“William F. Felice offers a challenging and eloquent argument for what he calls the ‘ethical interdependence of human rights and duties.’ In ways that reach more deeply into the issues than even the best textbooks, Felice develops four diverse case studies that illustrate how ethical principles can, and should, be applied to real-world problems. These cases—typically relegated to a paragraph or two as afterthoughts in larger books—illustrate, in impressively specific terms, the range of dilemmas and duties faced by all who profess to support universal human rights. This book would be a wonderful addition to courses on justice and human rights across the liberal-arts curriculum.”
– Michael J. Smith, Thomas C. Sorensen Professor, University of Virginia