PhD project

Sub-Continent Religious Traditions, Disability (Non-normative Bodies)

On this page

Miles (2013) estimates that at least half of all the world’s disabled people live Asia. Two billion people live in regions where Buddhism has influenced the way people think and act, yet despite these extraordinary enumerations, Buddhist and Hindu beliefs concerning disability (or non-normative bodies) and the impact of these beliefs on social inclusion, social policy and law has been poorly studied. Approaches to social policy and legal flora based on Western traditions are exported from the occident to the global south with minimal adaption.

Studies in Ableism (SiA) is now a recognised sub-specialism of critical disability studies and focuses on ways that abledment (the process of being/becoming ‘abled’) is located within societal processes and practices. Temporality, place and context are significant for the formation of bodies and populations marked as ‘abled’, and the remnant sometimes marked as ‘disabled’.

Topics for this project will be negotiated, but can include: karma (kamma) and rebirth, concepts of self and community (family-kin relations), social welfare responses to peripheral, marginalised communities (religious prescription of social order around purity/pollution), Buddhist ethics and pedagogy, disabled veterans, the idea of mental illness.

This project would suit PhD students from humanities (Buddhist studies, history, medical humanities), social sciences (Asian studies, sociology, anthropology, international development studies, theology, community development) and social work, community learning & development. The project requires a student who is committed to reading broadly across traditional disciplinary boundaries and non-western cultural contexts, hungry for deliberation; and ultimately comfortable with complexity and religious critique. Prior knowledge/commitment to a South Asian religious tradition would be a helpful asset, although not essential.

Diversity statement

Our research community thrives on the diversity of students and staff which helps to make the University of Dundee a UK university of choice for postgraduate research. We welcome applications from all talented individuals and are committed to widening access to those who have the ability and potential to benefit from higher education.

PhD support

See applying for a research degree for more information on the different stages of the PhD application process.

PhD fees

Fees for PhD and other research postgraduate courses

How to apply

  1. Email Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell ( to:
    • send a copy of your CV and
    • discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).
  2. After discussion with Professor Campbell, formal applications can be made via the direct application system. Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Social Work
Learn about applying for a research degree


Principal supervisor