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BSMS > About BSMS > Contact us > Staff > Dr Arianne Shahvisi

Dr Arianne Shahvisi

Arianne Shahvisi

Dr Arianne Shahvisi (BA, MSc, MSt, PhD)

Lecturer in Ethics and Medical Humanities
T: +44 (0)1273 872873
Location: Medical Teaching Building, Rm 2.16, BSMS, University of Sussex, BN1 9PX

Other roles: Affiliated faculty member in Centre for Applied Philosophy, Politics and Ethics, University of Brighton; and Centre for Gender Studies, University of Sussex
Areas of expertise: Applied philosophy; bioethics; social epistemology; feminist theory; philosophy of science
Research areas: Reproductive ethics; feminist bioethics; scientific methodology; unity of science; academic freedom; and the ethics of labour


Dr Arianne Shahvisi studied Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge, where she also completed an MSc in Astrophysics, focussing on dark matter in dwarf galaxies. She then moved to Oxford, where she took a second masters in Philosophy of Physics, before returning to Cambridge to begin a PhD in philosophy, working with Jeremy Butterfield and Huw Price. Her thesis explored the origins of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, unpicking the highly improbable conditions of the early Universe, and developing her own theories of explanation, lawhood, and the unity of science.

Before coming to BSMS, Arianne worked as a faculty member in the philosophy department at the American University of Beirut for two years, where she was the recipient of a Mellon Foundation Arts and Humanities Research Fellowship.

Alongside her academic work, Arianne takes her role as a public ethicist very seriously, and engages in campus and community activism, focussing on gender, race, migration, and academic freedom. She has written commentary on these issues for the New Statesman, Jacobin, Open Democracy, and Truthout, and was awarded the Kamal Salibi Award for services to academic freedom in 2015.

Arianne serves as an editorial board member of Kohl: Journal for Feminist Research on Gender and the Body in the MENA Region.


Arianne’s research interests are broad and cross-disciplinary. They are united by their application of rigorous philosophical methods of analysis to real-world issues of moral concern. Her work is strongly defined by concerns relating to gender, race, class, science, and globalisation, and the power differentials present in all. Current research projects address the following issues: the ethics of alternative medicine, the epistemology of the placebo effect, legislation around female genital mutilation, the ethics of domestic work, the role of civility in defining academic freedom, the ethics of assisted reproduction, and the ethics of sex selection.


Arianne teaches undergraduate courses on the philosophy of mind, ethics, social determinants of health, feminist bioethics, and biopolitics. She also lectures on gender and ethics within the MSc in Global Health. Students interested in any of these topics are encouraged to get in touch to discuss undergraduate dissertations or graduate theses.

Selected publications

Shahvisi, Arianne, Meskele, Enguday and Davey, Gail (2018) A human right to shoes? Establishing rights and duties in the prevention and treatment of podoconiosis. Health and Human Rights. ISSN 2150-4113 (Accepted) 

Shahvisi, Arianne (2018) Hermeneutical injustice and outsourced domestic work. Women’s Studies International Forum. ISSN 0277-5395 (Accepted)

Shahvisi, Arianne (2018) From academic freedom to academic responsibility: privileges and responsibilities regarding speech on campus. In: Surprenant, Chris W and Downs, Donald Alexander (eds.) The Value and Limits of Academic Speech: Philosophical, Political, and Legal Perspectives. Routledge Studies in Contemporary Philosophy . Routledge. ISBN 9781138479890 (Accepted)

Shahvisi, Arianne and Earp, Brian D The law and ethics of female genital cutting. In: Creighton, Sarah and Liao, Lih-Mei (eds.) Female genital cosmetic surgery: interdisciplinary analysis and solution. Cambridge University Press. (Accepted)

Shahvisi, Arianne (2017) Health-worker migration and migrant health-care: seeking cosmopolitanism in the NHS. Bioethics. ISSN 1467-8519 (Accepted).

Shahvisi, Arianne (2017) Engendering harm: a critique of sex selection for 'family balancing'. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry. ISSN 1176-7529 (Accepted).

Shahvisi, Arianne (2017) Why UK doctors should be troubled by female genital mutilation legislation. Clinical Ethics, 12 (2). pp. 102-108. ISSN 1477-7509.

Shahvisi, Arianne (2017) [Review] Kristin Shrader-Frechette (2014) Tainted: how philosophy of science can expose bad science. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science, 30 (2). pp. 193-196. ISSN 0269-8595.

Shahvisi, Arianne (2016) Cutting slack and cutting corners: an ethical and pragmatic response to Arora and Jacobs¹ Female genital alteration: a compromise solution. Journal of Medical Ethics, 42 (3). pp. 156-157. ISSN 0306-6800.

Shahvisi, Arianne (2016) [Review] Carol J. Adams and Lori Green, ed. (2014) Ecofeminism: feminist intersections with other animals and the earth. Journal of Gender Studies, 25 (1). pp. 112-114. ISSN 0958-9236.