Melina Bell Associate Professor of Philosophy and Law

Melina Bell

Washington Hall 312
Curriculum Vitae

Professor Bell joined the Department of Philosophy in 2005 as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. She became an Associate Professor in 2011. She is an affiliate faculty member in both the Women's and Gender Studies Program and the Shepherd Program for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability. She is also an Associate Professor of Law at the law school, and she is a pre-law advisor.

Professor Bell’s primary research interests are in political philosophy, philosophy of law, and feminist philosophy.  Her publications have focused on several different ways in which the basic structure of society, or particular domains within it, reflect hierarchies of social power that unduly restrict human freedom and opportunity and impede human flourishing.


Ph.D. Philosophy, University of Pennsylvania
M.A. Philosophy, Tufts University
J.D. Boston University
M.P.H. Boston University
B.A. Philosophy, Hofstra University


Political and Social Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Feminist Theory, Ethical Theory, Applied Ethics, Philosophy of Education


Introduction to Feminist Theory, Contemporary Moral Problems, Honor Beyond the Classroom: The Philosophy of Honor, Social Inequality and Fair Opportunity, Feminist Social and Political Philosophy, Philosophy of Sex, Philosophy of the Family, John Stuart Mill, Philosophy of Law, Philosophies of Life, Distributive Justice, Utopia, and Jurisprudence (law school)

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

  1. "Is Women's Bodybuilding Unfeminine?: Breaking the Mold of Gender Norms" in Philosophical Reflections on Physical Strength: Does a Strong mind Need a Strong Body?, ed. Mark A. Holowchak, Terry Todd, and J. S. Russell (Edwin Mellen Press, 2010): 179-198


  1. "Children Are People: Liberty, Opportunity, and Just Parenthood", Review Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (2012): 49-86
  2. "Valuing All Families," Law, Culture and the Humanities 5 (2009): 288-316
  3. "Strength in Muscle and Beauty in Integrity: Building a Body for Her," Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 35 (2008): 43-62
  4. "Regulating Transfer and Use of Fetal Tissue in Transplantation Procedures: The Ethical Dimensions," American Journal of Law & Medicine 20 (1994): 277-294