Beth Simmons is Andrea Mitchell Penn Integrates Knowledge University Professor of Law, Political Science and Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania. She researches and teaches international relations, international law and international political economy. She is best known for her research on international political economy during the interwar years, policy diffusion globally and her work demonstrating the influence that international law has on human rights outcomes around the world.
Simmons is currently working on a project that attempts to document and explain the paradox of hardening international borders between states in an era of globalization. She uses satellite imagery to document evidence of state presence at international border crossings and the location in time and space of border walls and fences round the world. Her goal is to write a book probing the politics, economics and social anxieties behind international border “thickening.”
Two of her books, Who Adjusts? Domestic Sources of Foreign Economic Policy During the Interwar Years (2004) and Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics (2009) won the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Award for the best book published in the United States on government, politics, or international affairs. The latter was also recognized by the American Society for International Law, the International Social Science Council and the International Studies Association as the best book of the year in 2010. Her current and recent research have been supported by the Carnegie Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Smith Richardson Foundation and the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University. Simmons directed the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard, is a past president of the International Studies Association and has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society.