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

   School of Education and Social Work

   Sunday, June 30, 2024  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

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.

For informal enquiries about the project, contact Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell ()

For general enquiries about the University of Dundee, contact

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.


Applicants must have obtained, or expect to obtain, a first or 2.1 UK honours degree, or equivalent for degrees obtained outside the UK in a relevant discipline.

English language requirement: IELTS (Academic) score must be at least 6.5 (with not less than 5.5 in each of the four components). Other, equivalent qualifications will be accepted. Full details of the University’s English language requirements are available online:


Step 1: Email Professor Fiona Kumari Campbell () to (1) send a copy of your CV and (2) discuss your potential application and any practicalities (e.g. suitable start date).

Step 2: After discussion with Professor Campbell, formal applications can be made via the direct application system. When applying, please follow the instructions below:

Apply for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in Social Work: Education, social work, and community education research degrees | University of Dundee.

Please select the study mode (full-time/part-time) and start date agreed with the lead supervisor.

 In the Research Proposal section, please:

-       Enter the lead supervisor’s name in the ‘proposed supervisor’ box

-       Enter the project title listed at the top of this page in the ‘proposed project title’ box

In the ‘personal statement’ section, please outline your suitability for the project selected.

History & Archaeology (19) Languages, Literature & Culture (21) Medicine (26) Philosophy (28) Politics & Government (30) Sociology (32) Theology & Religious Studies (34)

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. The successful applicant will be expected to provide the funding for tuition fees and living expenses, via external sponsorship or self-funding. However, we will work with the student to identify any possible scholarships.

Register your interest for this project

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