Arianne Shahvisi

Arianne Shahvisi  is a senior lecturer in ethics at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. Her book Arguing for a Better World was published in June 2023.

From The Blog
12 September 2023

My grandfather worked as a school building inspector from the 1950s to the 1980s. Farajollah Shahvisi travelled the perilous, slow-going roads that ribbon around the jagged, scrub-tufted peaks of Iranian Kurdistan, visiting schools with keeling walls and dripping roofs. There was a lot of theft. Builders would make off with government-issue cement, stuff gaps with debris and let bricks sit loose. A fault-finder by nature, my grandfather would close down schools and report cowboy developers, who’d be ordered to rebuild for free.

From The Blog
1 September 2023

The conceptual if not the literal ancestors of most of Britain’s chickens were smuggled into the country disguised as Easter eggs. Their bootlegger was Antony Fisher, a former RAF pilot who had been advised by Friedrich Hayek to make his mark not by getting into politics but by nudging public opinion from the helm of a research institute. Fisher went in search of funds. On a trip to the US, he saw fifteen thousand supersized chickens packed into a single poultry house. He wrapped two dozen fertilised eggs in foil and stashed them in his hand luggage for the return trip.

Arianne Shahvisi writes: In The Tempest, King Alonso’s adviser Gonzalo attempts to lighten the mood after the shipwreck by describing how he would organise the island. When I was twelve, we read the scene at school and were asked to reflect on the feasibility of his utopia. I argued that it was misguided, because those who work­ed hard would not be sufficiently rewarded, and those who were lazy...

What’s the difference? Sex in the Brain

Arianne Shahvisi, 8 September 2022

As a teenager,​ I couldn’t find anyone to play chess with me, so I pored over a small yellow copy of Chess Made Easy and set up games against myself. Mine is the 26th edition of Cecil Purdy and Gary Koshnitsky’s primer, first published in 1942. Returning to it recently, I noticed a brief section towards the end on ‘Women in Chess’. It is often the case, the text...

From The Blog
22 June 2022

‘The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth,’ George Orwell’s Coming Up for Air begins. Two paragraphs later, we learn that the narrator is forty-five years old. In 1984, Winston is surprised at Julia’s advances: ‘I’m thirty-nine years old. I’ve got a wife that I can’t get rid of. I’ve got varicose veins. I’ve got false teeth.’ And in Keep the Aspidistra Flying, an even younger Gordon Comstock glumly evaluates his life: ‘thirty years old, with twenty-six teeth left; with no money and no job; in borrowed pyjamas in a borrowed bed; with nothing before him except cadging and destitution, and nothing behind him except squalid fooleries.’ It’s not so much an oral fixation as a sign of the times. Teeth were hard to keep, especially if you were poor. In The Road to Wigan Pier, Orwell reads the teeth of working-class people in the industrial north.

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