Professor Rachel Ankeny

Professor Rachel Ankeny
 Position Professor
 Org Unit History
 Telephone +61 8 8313 5570
 Location Floor/Room 3 11 ,  Napier ,   North Terrace
  • 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, 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 with special expertise in history of food and history of science, technology, and medicine. 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 Australian Research Council Discovery Projects grants entitled “Making Plants Better, Making Australia Better? A History of Genetic Modification Science, Policy, and Community Attitudes in Australia” (2014-17, A$291,669) and jointly with Michael Dietrich (Dartmouth College) and Sabina Leonelli (University of Exeter), "Organisms and Us: How Living Things Help Us to Understand Our World" (2016-20, $313,868).

    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 entitled “What Shall We Have for Tea? Toward a New Discourse of Food Ethics in Contemporary Australia” (2013-15, A$155,000), and an Australian Research Council Linkage Project grant with Prof Wendy Umberger entitled “Getting to the Meat of the Matter: Social and Economic Issues in Animal Welfare in Australia's Livestock Industry” (2013-16, 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.


  • Publications


    For an up-to-date list of publications, see Rachel's Researcher Profile.

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

  • 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 is currently a member of the South Australia GM Crop Advisory Committee, and 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 the chair of the National Committee for History and Philosophy of Science of the Australian Academy of Sciences.

    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.

  • Media Expertise

    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;

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Entry last updated: Sunday, 18 Nov 2018

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