Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law

Sociology and Social Policy

Contact Details

Dr Alison Sheldon

Senior Teaching Fellow in Disability Studies

Having completed a BSc in Psychology at the University of Leeds and worked in publishing for several years, I returned to the University to work on my PhD in the School of Sociology and Social Policy (Disabled People and Communication Systems in the Twenty First Century, completed 2001. I have been working in the School ever since. I am a former director of the Centre for Disability Studies (2012 – 2015), and was deputy director for the preceding three years (2009 – 2012). I am currently disability contact for SSP as well as representing the school on the faculty Equality and Inclusion committee.

I am an executive editor of the international journal Disability and Society http://www.tandfonline.com/toc/cdso20/current# for which I co-edited a special issue in 2014 on disability and technology.

Research Interests

My research interests include disability and technology, disability and feminism, disability in higher education and global perspectives on disability.


I am director of the School’s taught postgraduate programmes in Disability Studies, and helped to pioneer distance learning in the university through the school’s ground-breaking Postgraduate Diploma/MA in Disability Studies (via distance learning). I run a number of MA modules including Debates on Disability Theory and Research and Disability and Development, and have led and contributed to the undergraduate module Disability Studies: An Introduction. I supervise dissertations at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

PhD Supervision

I have successfully supervised three students to completion of their PhDs. All have now produced books based on their research, as follows:

Berghs, M. (2012) War and Embodied Memory: Becoming disabled in Sierra Leone, Farnham: Ashgate.

Callus, A. (2013) Becoming Self-Advocates: People with intellectual impairments seeking a voice, Oxford: Peter Lang.

Soorenian, A. (2013) Disabled International Students in British Higher Education: Experiences and expectations, Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.

Key Publications


  • Sheldon A, Creating a Society for All: Disability and Economy, ed. by Matsui A and others (Leeds: The Disability Press, 2012)


  • Sheldon A, ‘The future of disability studies’, in Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments, ed. by Swain J and others, Third Edition (London: Sage, 2014)

  • Sheldon A, ‘Changing technology’, in Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments, ed. by Swain J and others (London: Sage, 2014)

  • Sheldon A, ‘Women and disability’, in Disabling Barriers - Enabling Environments, ed. by Swain J and others, third edition (London: Sage, 2014)

  • Barnes C, Sheldon A, ‘Emancipatory' Disability Research and Special Educational Needs’, in Handbook of Special Educational Needs, ed. by Florian L (London: Sage, 2007), 233-245

  • Sheldon A, ‘Disability’, in The Routledge Dictionary of Social Theory, ed. by Harrington and others (Routledge, 2006)

  • Sheldon A, ‘One world, one people, one struggle? Toward the global implementation of the social model of disability’, in Implementing the Social Model of Disability: Europe and the Majority World, ed. by Barnes C and Mercer G (The Disability Press, University of Leeds, 2005)

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