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 a core faculty member in the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program and and affiliate faculty member in 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


Social and Political Philosophy, Feminist Philosophy, Philosophy of Law, Applied Ethics


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

Selected Publications

Book Chapters:

“Is Women’s Bodybuilding Unfeminine?” In Philosophical Reflections on Physical Strength: Does a Strong Mind Need a Strong Body?, edited by Mark A. Holowchak and Terry Todd, 179-198. Edwin Mellon Press, 2010.


“Citizens United, Liberty, and John Stuart Mill.” Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 30 (Online Supplement, 2016): 1-23.

“Gender Essentialism and American Law: Why and How to Sever the Connection.” Duke Journal of Gender, Law & Policy 23 (2016): 163-221.

“Children Are People: Liberty, Opportunity, and Just Parenthood.” Review Journal of Political Philosophy 9.1 (2012): 49-86.

“Valuing All Families.” Law, Culture and the Humanities 5 (2009): 288-316.

“Strength in Muscle and Beauty in Integrity: Building a Body for Her.” Journal of the Philosophy of Sport 35 (2008): 43-62.

“Regulating Transfer and Use of Fetal Tissue in Transplantation Procedures: The Ethical Dimensions.” American Journal of Law & Medicine 20 (1994): 277-294.