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Professor Rachel Ankeny

Telephone +61 8 8313 5570
Position Professor
Fax +61 8 8313 5241
Building Napier Building
Floor/Room 3 11
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit History

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Biography/ Background

Professor Rachel A. Ankeny is an interdisciplinary teacher and scholar whose areas of expertise cross three fields: history/philosophy of science, bioethics and science policy, and food studies.  She is an honorary senior fellow at the University of Exeter and a visiting faculty member at Arizona State University. Her research is considered highly interdisciplinary, scholarly, and generally accessible, evidenced by the fact that her talks are typically attended not only by academics but also members of the general public. She also is well-recognized as a scholar who can translate academic findings in ways that are relevant for students and the broader community.

Rachel has a BA in Liberal Arts (Philosophy/Maths, St John's College, Santa Fe, NM), and MA degrees in Philosophy and in Bioethics, and a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science (all from the University of Pittsburgh, PA). In 2006 she graduated with the degree of Master of Arts in Gastronomy (University of Adelaide) after completing a dissertation on celebratory food habits among Italo-Australian and Italian-American immigrants. She also holds a Graduate Certificate in Online Learning (Higher Education) from the University of Adelaide. Prior to joining the University of Adelaide in 2006, she was director and lecturer/senior lecturer in the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney from 2000.

Rachel currently serves as Associate Dean (Research) (August 2011-present) and Deputy Executive Dean (2015-present) for the Faculty of Arts, co-convenor of the HREC Low Risk Ethics Committee (Arts and Professions), and on numerous University-wide committees in relation to finance and investment, IT initiatives, and research.  She formerly served as the Faculty's Associate Dean (International) (2009-10).

Teaching Interests

Rachel teaches in the undergraduate program in history and in the postgraduate coursework program in food studies for which she is the Program Coordinator. She convened the Faculty's new Small-Group Discovery Experience (SGDE) core course, "The Enquiring Mind," in semester 2, 2014. She also supervises Faculty internships, summer scholarships, and honours theses. She is registered to supervise higher degree research in History (general and Food Studies) and Philosophy in the School of Humanities. She has supervised numerous successful honours, masters, and PhD candidates in history and philosophy of science, bioethics, and history of food/food studies. She is a member of the Commonwealth's Tertiary Education Quality and and Standards Agency (TEQSA) Register of Experts, and has assessed curriculum proposals in Australia and New Zealand.

Research Interests

Rachel's research interests cross several areas and fields: the history and philosophy of science particularly biomedical/ biological sciences, bioethics and science policy, food studies, and migration history. 

In the history and philosophy of science, her research focuses on the roles of models and case-based reasoning in science, model organisms, the philosophy of medicine, and the history of contemporary life sciences. Her research in bioethics examines ethical and policy issues in genetics, reproduction, women's health, transplantation, and embryo and stem cell research, among other topics.  She also has expertise and ongoing research on health and science policy, particularly regarding public engagement. She currently holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (2014-16) entitled “Making Plants Better, Making Australia Better? A History of Genetic Modification Science, Policy, and Community Attitudes in Australia” (A$291,669).

In food studies, Rachel's research interests include food ethics, food habits of women and children, food habits in the Italian diaspora, and the relationship of science to food habits. She received an Australian Research Council Discovery Project grant (2011-13) entitled “What Shall We Have for Tea? Toward a New Discourse of Food Ethics in Contemporary Australia” (A$155,000), and an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant (2013-16) with A/Prof Wendy Umberger entitled “Getting to the Meat of the Matter: Social and Economic Issues in Animal Welfare in Australia's Livestock Industry” (A$287,607). For more details on these projects and to volunteer to participating in our research please see the Food Values Research Group page.

Rachel is the lead investigator on an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant entitled "Hostel Stories: Toward a Richer Narrative of the Lived Experiences of Migrants" (2012-15) in collaboration with the Migration Museum and in partnership with the cities of Charles Sturt and Port Adelaide Enfield, State Records, and the Vietnamese Community in Australia (SA). For more information and to register as a participant, see the Hostel Stories project page.

She previously has been an investigator on various grants from the National Health and Medical Research Council, the Australian Research Council, the US National Science Foundation, and the NSW Cancer Council, among other organisations.  She is a member and the convener of the University of Adelaide’s Gender Panel for the Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) (2010-on) and the co-convener of the University of Adelaide's Social Science Panel for Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) (2011-on).



Selected Publications

Some of these publications can be accessed via Adelaide Research and Scholarship

Karen Agutter and Rachel A. Ankeny (2016, forthcoming), Unsettling Narratives: Overcoming Prejudices in the Hostel Stories Project, Journal of Australian Studies (accepted 31 August 2015 for special issue)

Rachel A. Ankeny and Heather J. Bray (2016, forthcoming), If Were Happy to Eat It, Why Wouldn't We Be Happy to Feed It To Our Children?: Articulating the Complexities Underlying Women's Ethical Views on Genetically Modified Food,International Journal on Feminist Approaches to Bioethics (accepted 16 April 2015)

Heather J. Bray and Rachel A. Ankeny (2015, forthcoming), “What Do Food Labels Teach People about Food Ethics?” in Elaine Swan and Rick Flowers (eds.), Food Pedagogies. London: Ashgate (accepted 30 September 2013)

Melissa Nursey-Bray, Eleanor Parnell, Rachel A. Ankeny, Heather Bray, and Dianne Rudd (2015, forthcoming), “Community Gardens as Pathways to Community Resilience? Reflections on a Pilot Study in Adelaide, South Australia,South Australian Geographical Journal (accepted 1 October 2015)

Joanne Daly, Kym Anderson, Rachel Ankeny, Bronwyn Harch, Andrew Hastings, John Rolfe, and Richard Waterhouse for the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA). 2015. Australia's Agricultural Future: Final Report. Melbourne: ACOLA.

Sabina Leonelli and Rachel A. Ankeny (2015), Repertoires: How to Transform a Project into a Research Community, BioSciences 65: 7018, DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biv061

Rachel A. Ankeny and Sabina Leonelli (2015), “Valuing Data in Postgenomic Biology: How Data Donation and Curation Practices Challenge the Scientific Publication System,” in Sarah S. Richardson and Hallam Stevens (eds.), Postgenomics: Perspectives on Biology After the Genome. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press, 126–49

Rachel A. Ankeny (2014), The Overlooked Role of Cases in Casual Attribution in Medicine,Philosophy of Science 81: 9991011, DOI: 10.1086/677693

Michael R. Dietrich, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Patrick Chen (2014), Publication Trends in Model Organism Research," Genetics 198: 787794, DOI: 10.1534/genetics.114.169714

Rachel A. Ankeny, Sabina Leonelli, Nicole C. Nelson, and Edmund Ramsden (2014), “Making Organisms Model Humans: Situated Models in Alcohol Research,” Science in Context 27: 485509, DOI: 10.1017/S0269889714000155

Charles Douglas, Ian Kerridge, and Rachel A. Ankeny (2014), “Double Meanings Wont Save the Principle of Double Effect,” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39: 304316, doi: 10.1093/jmp/jhu011

Rachel A. Ankeny (2014), <<Maladie et santé, concepts et representations>> Disease and Health: Concepts and Representations,” in Bernardino Fantini and Louise L. Lambrichs (eds.), <<Histoire de la pensée médicale contemporaine: Evolutions, découvertes, controverses>> History of Contemporary Medical Thought: Changes, Discoveries, Controversies. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 11–24

Diane B. Paul and Rachel A. Ankeny (2013), “Patenting the PKU Test—Federally Funded Research and Intellectual Property,” New England Journal of Medicine 369: 792–94, doi: 10.1056/NEJMp1306755

Sabina Leonelli and Rachel A. Ankeny (2013), “What Makes a Model Organism?” Endeavour 37: 209–212

Julie Henderson, Elizabeth House, John Coveney, Samantha B. Meyer, Rachel A. Ankeny, Paul R. Ward, and Michael Calnan (2013), “Evaluating the Use of Citizens Juries in Food Policy: A Case Study of Food Regulation,” BMC Public Health 13: 596, doi: 10.1186/10./471-2458-13-596

Charles D. Douglas, Ian H. Kerridge, and Rachel A. Ankeny (2013), “Narratives of ‘Terminal Sedation,’ and the Importance of the Intention–Foresight Distinction in Palliative Care Practice,” Bioethics 27: 1–11

Rachel A. Ankeny (2012), “Detecting Themes and Variations: The Use of Cases in Developmental Biology,” Philosophy of Science 79: 644–54

Sabina Leonelli and Rachel A. Ankeny (2012), “Re-thinking Organisms: The Impact of Databases on Model Organism Biology,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 43: 29–36

Rachel A. Ankeny (2012), “Ethics of Food,” in Jeffrey Pilcher (ed.), Handbook of Food History. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 461–80

Rachel A. Ankeny (2011), “Using Cases to Establish Novel Diagnoses: Creating Generic Facts by Making Particular Facts Travel Together,” in Peter Howlett and Mary S. Morgan (eds.), How Well Do Facts Travel? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 252–72

Kimberly A. Strong, Christopher F.C. Jordens, Ian H. Kerridge, J. Miles Little, and Rachel A. Ankeny (2011), “It’s Time to Reframe the Savior Sibling Debate,” AJOB Primary Research 2: 13–25

Rachel A. Ankeny and Sabina Leonelli (2011), “Bioethics Authorship in Context: How Trends in Biomedicine Challenge Bioethics,” American Journal of Bioethics 11: 22–24

Rachel A. Ankeny and Sabina Leonelli (2011), “What’s So Special about Model Organisms?” Studies in History & Philosophy of Science 41: 313–323

Rachel A. Ankeny (2010), “Historiographic Considerations on Model Organisms: Or, How the Mureaucracy May Be Limiting Our Understanding of Contemporary Genetics and Genomics,” History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences 32: 91–104

Renee Kyle, Susan M. Dodds, and Rachel A. Ankeny (2009), “A Matter of Conscience? The Democratic Significance of ‘Conscience Votes’ in Legislating Bioethics in Australia,” Australian Journal of Social Issues 44: 121–144

Mitchell Lawlor, Ian Kerridge, Rachel A. Ankeny, T.A. Dobbins, and Frank Billson (2009), “Specific Unwillingness to Donate Eyes: The Impact of Disfigurement, Knowledge and Procurement on Corneal Donation,” American Journal of Transplantation 9: 1–7

Gabrielle Natalie Samuel, Kim Strong, Ian Kerridge, Christopher F.C. Jordens, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Peter Shaw (2009), “Establishing the Role of Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis with Human Leucocyte Antigen Typing: What Place Do ‘Saviour Siblings’ Have in Paediatric Transplantation?” Archives of Disease in Childhood 94: 317–320

Charles Douglas, Ian Kerridge, and Rachel A. Ankeny (2008), "Managing Intentions: The End-of-Life Administration of Analgesics and Sedatives, and the Possibility of Slow Euthanasia,” Bioethics 22: 388–396

Rachel A. Ankeny and Susan Dodds (2008), “Hearing Community Voices: Public Engagement in Australian Human Embryo Research Policy 2005–7,” New Genetics and Society 27: 217–232

Jane Maienschein, Mary Sunderland, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Jason Scott Robert (2008), “The Ethos and Ethics of Translational Research,” The American Journal of Bioethics 8: 43–51

Rachel A. Ankeny (2008), “Model Organisms as Fictions,” in Mauricio Suárez (ed.), Fictions in Science: Philosophical Essays on Modeling and Idealisation. New York: Routledge, 193204

Rachel A. Ankeny (2008), “The Moral Economy of Red Meat in Australia,” in Susan Friedland, ed., Food and Morality: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2007. Blackawton, Totnes: Prospect Books, 20–28

Rachel A. Ankeny (2007), “Wormy Logic: Model Organisms as Case-Based Reasoning,” in Angela N.H. Creager, Elizabeth Lunbeck, and M. Norton Wise (eds.), Science without Laws: Model Systems, Cases, Exemplary Narratives. Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press, 46–58

Rachel A. Ankeny (2006), “Individual Responsibility and Reproduction,” in Rosamond Rhodes, Leslie Francis, and Anita Silvers (eds.), Blackwell Guide to Medical Ethics. New York: Blackwell Press, 38–51

Rachel A. Ankeny (2006), “The Rise of Molecular Gastronomy and Its Problematic Use of Science as an Authenticating Authority,” in Richard Hosking (ed.), Authenticity in the Kitchen: Proceedings of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery 2005. Blackawton, Totnes: Prospect Books, 44–52

John E.R. Rasko, Gabrielle M. O’Sullivan, and Rachel A. Ankeny (2006), “Is Inheritable Genetic Modification the New Dividing Line?” in John E.R. Rasko, Gabrielle M. O’Sullivan, and Rachel A. Ankeny (eds.), The Ethics of Inheritable Genetic Modification: A Dividing Line? Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1–15

Susan Dodds and Rachel A. Ankeny (2006), “Regulation and hESC Research in Australia: Promises and Pitfalls for Deliberative Democratic Approaches,” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 3: 95–107

Tamra Lysaght, Rachel A. Ankeny, and Ian H. Kerridge (2006), “The Scope of Public Discourse Surrounding Proposition 71: Looking Beyond the Moral Status of the Embryo,” Journal of Bioethical Inquiry 3: 109–19


Professional Associations

Rachel currently serves in a number of roles for national and international professional organisations:

Rachel was a member of the Expert Working Group for the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA) research programme on Securing Australia's Future on the project related to Australia's Agricultural Future (2014-15).

She previously was a member of the Gene Technology Ethics and Community Consultative Committee (and formerly the Genetic Technology Ethics Committee) for the Office of the Gene Technology Regulator of the Commonwealth of Australia, and was the chair of the National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science of the Australian Academy of Sciences (2011-14), among other past roles.

She has been a reviewer for numerous international granting agencies (including the Australian Research Council, National Health and Medical Research Council, the Austrian Science Fund, the British Academy, the Qatar Research Fund, the UK Economic and Social Research Council, and the US National Science Foundation) as well as numerous scholarly journals in her areas of expertise.

Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesHistory, Ethics
ExpertiseHistory/philosophy of science; history and culture of food; bioethics; food ethics; science policy; public understanding of science; public engagement; deliberative democratic approaches;

Entry last updated: Sunday, 24 Jan 2016

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