Professor Shue, Professor of Ethics and Public Life at Cornell University and Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University’s Centre for International Studies, is primarily interested in ethical issues that arise in international affairs, especially issues about the foreign policy of the United States. He has worked on the relative priority of economic rights, the strength of obligations across national boundaries, the morality of nuclear deterrence, and the justice of international cooperation on the environment. His research has focused on the role of human rights, especially economic rights, in international affairs and, more generally, on institutions to protect the vulnerable. After work on strategies regarding nuclear weapons in the 1980s, his writing during the 1990s mainly concerned the issues of justice arising in international negotiations over climate change. Henry Shue is best-known for his book on international distributive justice, Basic Rights, and for pioneering the sub-field of International Normative Theory, which he has been teaching as an optional subject in the M.Phil. in International Relations since 2002. He was a co-founder, in 1976, of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland, a founding member of the Executive Committee of the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics (U.S.), and the inaugural Wyn and William Y. Hutchinson Professor of Ethics & Public Life at Cornell University.
He is now a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for International Studies and was a Professor of International Relations with the Department of Politics and International Relations until his retirement at the end of 2007.
His current writing concentrates on the two primary aspects of war: the resort to war, especially preventive military attacks [“preemption”], and the conduct of war, especially the bombing of ‘dual-use’ infrastructure like electricity-generating facilities. Unfortunately he also finds renewed interest in his 1978 article, “Torture.”