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Dr Sarah Fine was an undergraduate student at the University of Cambridge. She received her MPhil and DPhil from the University of Oxford. Before joining the Department of Philosophy at King’s, Dr Fine was a Research Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

Research interests and PhD supervision

  • Political Philosophy
  • Ethics
  • History of Political and Social Philosophy

Dr Fine’s research lies in the fields of contemporary political philosophy, ethics, and the history of modern political and social philosophy. She specializes in issues relating to migration and citizenship, with interests in a wide range of areas, including democratic theory, nationalism and patriotism, states and sovereignty, territory and borders, theories of justice, ‘race’ and ethnicity, and feminism and gender. She is also interested in the intersection between philosophy and the arts.

Dr Fine is the co-editor (with Lea Ypi) of Migration in Political Theory: The Ethics of Movement and Membership (Oxford University Press, 2016), in which she has a chapter on the history and politics of racial and ethnic discrimination in immigration policy. Her monograph, Immigration and the Right to Exclude, is forthcoming with Oxford University Press. The book critically examines the dominant view that states enjoy a moral right to exclude would-be immigrants. She is also co-editing a book, Political Philosophy, Here and Now: Essays in Honour of David Miller (Oxford University Press, expected 2019) with Daniel Butt and Zofia Stemplowska.

Dr Fine welcomes political philosophy PhD applications.

Her recent former PhD student, Désirée Lim, is now Assistant Professor in Philosophy at Penn State, following two years as an Interdisciplinary Ethics Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford University. 

For more details, please see her full research profile


Dr Fine teaches modules on contemporary political philosophy, the history of political philosophy, the ethics of migration, and gender and philosophy. She is also contributing to a new module on the philosophy of race.  

Expertise and public engagement

Dr Fine is delighted to work across disciplinary boundaries and with people outside academia, puzzling over the complexities of our moral and political world.

She is currently collaborating with the UK’s leading human rights theatre company, ice&fire, playwright Amy Ng and director Donnacadh O’Briain, on a project to develop a fun, irreverent and accessible play on the themes of freedom of movement and the politics of exclusion, with clowns, an aeroplane… and probably some karaoke. 

She is working with choreographer Sivan Rubinstein on her project MAPS, exploring an imagined world without borders through music and dance.

As part of the Centre for Philosophy and the Visual Arts at KCL’s Artist in Residency Programme 2018, artist Jort van der Laan participated in Dr Fine’s module on the ethics of migration. His work on the topic is appearing in the Freedom of Movement exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam.

Dr Fine is a Fellow at the Forum for European Philosophy, an educational charity championing public philosophy.She organizes and chairs panel events on all sorts of topics, bringing philosophical discussions to a wide audience. The events are free, open to all, and made available as podcasts.

These are the panels Dr Fine chaired in 2017-18 (click on the links to listen to the podcasts):

1. Who is a refugee?

Ahmad Al-Rashid/ Phillip Cole/ Elspeth Guild

2. Sovereignty

Serena Ferente/ Carmen Pavel/ David Runciman

3. Culture Under Fire

Helen Frowe/ Issam Kourbaj/ Vernon Rapley/ Eleanor Robson

4. The Politics of Marriage

Clare Chambers/ Paul Coleridge/ Peter Tatchell

5. Affirmative Action

Elizabeth Anderson/ Omar Khan

Selection of podcasts and public events:

Philosophy Bites: Sarah Fine on The Right to Exclude. Podcast.

The Philosopher’s Zone, Radio National, Australia: Keeping Them Out. Podcast.

Talking Migration Podcast: ‘What’s wrong with ethnic and racial discrimination in immigration policy?’ Podcast.

Keynote Lecture at the Refugees and Minority Rights Conference, UiT The Arctic University of Norway, June 2018. Video.

Philosophy in the Bookshop interview with Nigel Warburton, Blackwells, Oxford, April 2018.

Migration Through Dance: A Double Bill by Sivan Rubinstein. Workshop, performance, and post-show discussion at the Migration Museum in London, March 2018. Programme.

Rethinking Responsibility-Sharing workshop. Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford. September 2017.

Sheffield Festival of Debate on Solidarity with Refugees, June 2017. Information.

Arts and Humanities Festival, KCL: Play. Panel. ‘Is it Only a Game?’ October 2016. Video.

Migration Crisis? A Multidisciplinary Discussion. Panel co-organised with The Yeoh Tiong Lay Centre for Politics, Philosophy, & Law. December 2015. Video.

Dealing with the Refugee Crisis: Europe and Britain. Panel. UCL. November 2015. Summary.

Arts and Humanities Festival, KCL: Fabrication. Panel. ‘The Fabrication of Morality: Where Do Morals Come From?’. October 2015. Video.

David Miller’s Political Philosophy. ‘Political Philosophy and Autobiography’. May 2015. Audio

Why Love Matters for Justice: Workshop on Martha Nussbaum's Political Emotions. UCL. ‘Patriotism’. May 2014. Video

Festival of Ideas, Cambridge. Panel. ‘A Dividing Issue: The Immigration Debate’. November 2013. Video

Arts and Humanities Festival, KCL: Being Human. Panel. ‘What Makes us Human? Four Philosophical Perspectives’. October 2012. Audio

Forum for European Philosophy public lecture, LSE. European Provocations. ‘Isaiah Berlin on Two Concepts of Liberty’. June 2013. More information

Some blog posts:

‘Whose freedom of movement is worth defending?’, Contribution to debate on EU freedom of movement, originally posted at European Union Democracy Observatory on Citizenship in 2016. Working paper version hereat p. 21.

With Chris Bertram, ‘Should the atrocities in Paris affect our response to the refugee crisis?’ November 2015.

The argument from democratic principles’, Contribution to symposium on Joseph H. Carens, The Ethics of Immigration, Crooked Timber.

Dr Fine has been involved in outreach work, speaking to prospective students about applying to university, as well as offering taster lectures for school pupils (aged 11 to 18) on diverse subjects in philosophy and politics.