Colleen Murphy, Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Country: United States (Illinois)

About Me:

Colleen Murphy is a Professor in the College of Law and the Departments of Philosophy and Political Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program in International Programs and Studies, and Affiliate Faculty of the Beckman Institute. She holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. from the University of Notre Dame. Professor Murphy is the author of The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice (Cambridge University Press 2017), which received the North American Society for Social Philosophy Book Award, and A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation (Cambridge University Press 2010). She is co-editor of Engineering Ethics for a Globalized World (Springer), Risk Analysis of Natural Hazards (Springer), and Climate Change and Its Impacts: Risks and Inequalities (Springer). 

Research Interests

Political Theory


Conflict Processes & War


Specific Areas of Interest

Transitional Justice

Natural Disasters

Risk Regulation


Books Written:

(2017) The Conceptual Foundations of Transitional Justice, Cambridge University Press

Tags: Political Theory, Human Rights, Comparative Democratization

Many countries have attempted to transition to democracy following conflict or repression, but the basic meaning of transitional justice remains hotly contested. In this book, Colleen Murphy analyses transitional justice - showing how it is distinguished from retributive, corrective, and distributive justice - and outlines the ethical standards which societies attempting to democratize should follow. She argues that transitional justice involves the just pursuit of societal transformation. Such transformation requires political reconciliation, which in turn has a complex set of institutional and interpersonal requirements including the rule of law. She shows how societal transformation is also influenced by the moral claims of victims and the demands of perpetrators, and how justice processes can fail to be just by failing to foster this transformation or by not treating victims and perpetrators fairly.

(2010) A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation, Cambridge University Press

Tags: Political Theory, Peacekeeping, Conflict Processes & War

Following extended periods of conflict or repression, political reconciliation is indispensable to the establishment or restoration of democratic relationships and critical to the pursuit of peacemaking globally. In this important new book, Colleen Murphy offers an innovative analysis of the moral problems plaguing political relationships under the strain of civil conflict and repression. Focusing on the unique moral damage that attends the deterioration of political relationships, Murphy identifies the precise kinds of repair and transformation that processes of political reconciliation ought to promote. Building on this analysis, she proposes a normative model of political relationships. A Moral Theory of Political Reconciliation delivers an original account of the failure and restoration of political relationships, which will be of interest to philosophers, social scientists, legal scholars, policy analysts, and all those who are interested in transitional justice, global politics, and democracy.