Campbell, Fiona Kumari


1983 …2024

Research activity per year

Personal profile


Prof. Fiona Kumari Campbell is an interdisciplinary scholar-activist and is Professor of Disability and Ableism Studies in the School of Education & Social Work, University of Dundee. Acknowledging the importance of knowledge standpoint and the exclusionary practices of the academy, Fiona is a non-traditional academic being biracial, disabled, LGBT and from a religious minority background. Fiona is Co-Lead of the Peripheries Research & Academic Scholarship Theme at ESW, and Co Chair of the university's Disabled Staff Network. In 2019, Fiona became a Fellow of the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) .She is an Adjunct Professor in Disability Studies at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka.
She was Deputy Head of School (Learning & Teaching Scholarship) at the Griffith Law School until July 2014. Previous to this she was Convenor of Disability Studies, School of Human Services & Social Work, Griffith University (2001 – 2010). From 1984 - 1995, Fiona worked in rehabilitation services, the Australian public service providing ministerial advice on disability policy and in various third sector organisations on income security, disability advocacy and the establishment of attendant care and social care. She Chaired and was a member of a number of high level government commitees.
Fiona has written extensively on issues related to disability – a philosophy & sociology of ableism, disability in Sri Lanka, law, biotechnology and is recognised as a world leader in scholarship around studies in ableism. You can access my papers and publications on Academia Educ:


Research interests


  • Disability/Ableism studies (disability in law, social exclusion, epistemologies of ableism); 
  • Sociology of the body; sociological theory; interfaith/intercultural dialogue;
  • Health & wellbeing; 
  • Disability jurisprudence; 
  • Buddhist Studies; decolonisating knowledges; Sri Lankan & DPRK studies;
  • Systemic advocacy & human rights; 
  • Capacity building; community development theory/practice. 


My research, teaching and supervision capacity can be broadly grouped into five clusters, namely

  1. STUDIES IN ABLEISM [SIA] - conceptual, methodological and practice based research about ableism, abledness, ablement as it pertains to processes and practices that formulate our understanding of human difference, privilege and entitlements. My work has explored the role of technology, artificial intelligence, welfare discourses & neoliberalism and ways legal systems have reckoned with and produced human differentiation. SIA includes peoples designated as 'disabled' but also extends to peoples delineated by race, ethnicity, caste, citizenship and sex.
  2. DECOLONISED KNOWLEDGES & METHODOLOGIES - The utilisation of non-western thought and conceptual frameworks to articulate perspectives about temporality, self/non-self, soteriology, world-view, collectivism, argumentation and futurity. I am most familiar with Theravada Buddhist epistemologies, Australian Indigenious tragectories, Indian philosophy and Confucianism.
  3. CRITICAL LEGAL STUDIES - jurisprudence, feminist legal theory. My focus is on the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities and other human rights treaties practically, but also jurisprudentially in its co-location with cultural norms. More broadly I am interested in the ways that UN driven human rights norms play out in international geo-politics, especially within 'non western' and States with low GDP or are part of the non-aligned movement. I am cognisant of both the Sri Lankan and Indian constitutional systems.
  4. 'AREA' STUDIES - Whilst not restricting geographies of research focus, nor necessarily agreeing with the formulation of 'area' to denote the bordering of spaces; in recent years I have been organically working on research related to Australia; the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka [Sri Lanka], the Democratic Peoples Republic Korea [DPRK, known as north Korea] and China.
  5. RELIGIOUS TRADITIONS - Utilising my training in theology, I work with the study of difference in Theravadan Buddhism; Social Justice & Family Structures in Confucianism; Roman Catholic Systematic theology; and Judaic Studies (bodies, disability, ethics, trauma & witnessing).


(research titles are paraphrased and subject to change)

  • Dong Lin - Disability, China transitions from School to Employment.(1st supervision jointly with Dr. Susan Levy).
  • Kaushalya Herath - Transforming Spaces - Familiarisation of Women & Non conforming Peoples in the Pettah Sri Lanka.(1st supervision, Dr Andrea Rodriguez: 2nd supervisor).
  • Amanda Shaw - International Students learning approaches.(1st supervision).
  • Katie Brown - Super Normal Design and Hearing Aids, (1st supervision, Prof Graham Pullen, DJCAD, 2nd supervisor).
  • Peter Evans - the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child - Country Implementation Responses, (1st supervision, Prof Mark Smith: 2nd supervisor).
  • Fiona Clark - Citizenship & Empowerment of Aged Persons in Care Homes - Social Work Facilitation, (1st supervision, Prof Tim Kelly: 2nd supervisor).


I am interested in working with prospective students from any disciplinary background whose interests are broadly aligned with my Research Focus and are willing to work hard and be open to new ideas. Funding for doctoral/postdoctoral work is always a challenge and I will assist you in developing your proposal and exploring funding options. Having peer reviewed publications will enhance your competitiveness in scholarship rounds.

I welcome expressions of interest and enquiries about PhD and PostDoc supervision and encourage you to contact me by way of email ([email protected]) before lodging an application.



Research Grants

 2019, University of Dundee, Scottish Universities Insight Institute, “Healthy Universities for Healthy Communities” Professor Judith Sixsmith Helen Ryall (U of Edinburgh), Dr Linda McSwiggan, Dr Fiona Kumari Campbell, Awarded, £ 25,514

2018, University of Dundee, Making "Masculine" Pettah (Sri Lanka) More Inclusive: Familiarisation of Spaces by Women and Gender-nonconforming Persons to Reduce Inequalities and Promote Good Health and Wellbeing, Awarded £105, 243.00, Scottish Funding Council.

2018. Social Care and Disabled Prisoners in Scotland, Social Work Scotland, (Dr Susan Levey, Dr Fiona Kumari Campbell, Dr Lynn Kelly, with Fernando Fernandes), £12,000,

2007, Small research grant ($11,500): leadership training and Disablement, Socio-Legal Research Centre, Griffith University.

2004, Small research grant ($5,500): Production Monograph series on Law & Disability, Socio-Legal Research Centre, Griffith University.

1999, Australian Postgraduate Award, Australian Research Training Council, $99,000.

Editorial Boards:

  • Editorial Board, Corporealities of Disability Book Series, University of Michigan Press. (2019)
  • National Association of Disabled Staff Networks Review ( in planning)
  • Theorising Normalcy and the Mundane, Book Series, University of Chester (UK)
  • Italian Journal of Disability Studies
  • Periferias (Maria and Joao Aleixo Institute)
  • Disability Studies Quarterly (USA) - EXPIRED
  • Socio-Legal Review (LSE/Uni Bangalore)
  • International Review of Disability Studies (Hawaii) -EXPIRED
  • Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies (Liverpool)
  • Ethnographica: Journal of Disability and Culture (Leuven, Belgium)
  • Editorial group, Journal of Social Inclusion (Griffith) -EXPIRED

Online Multi-Media Presentations:

Being Disabled, Philosophy Forum Panel, London School of Economics, 28 November 2018.

Keynote Address: Ableism: A Theory of Everything? (University of Hamburg) or

Stella Young & Fiona Kumari Campbell on Transableism, 'Sunday Night Safran', Radio Triple J, Australia, 02 December 2012

Disability Services in Australia: Then and Now Part 1:, Part 2:

Systemic Advocacy Keynote

Dissecting the National Disability Insurance Scheme Part 1:, Part 2:

Interview with Dan Goodley on Ableism, Manchester Metropolitan University

What’s Critical about Disability Studies? Part 1;, Part 2:

Doing Disability Studies – The Impact (interview with Masters Students)

University of Colombo/Faculty of Law Disability Rights Forum – SoundCloud


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Adjunct Professor in Disability Studies, University of Kelaniya


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