Professor Kiran Grewal

Staff details

Position Professor
Department Sociology
Email k.grewal (
Professor Kiran Grewal

Kiran is a Professor in Human Rights in the Department of Sociology. A qualified lawyer, Kiran has worked as a scholar, practitioner and activist in the areas of refugee law, sexual and gender-based violence, torture prevention, policing and international criminal law in Australia, Sierra Leone, Kosovo, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Kiran’s research is particularly concerned with the interactions between legal frameworks and social justice struggles of marginalized and/or subaltern groups. She is also generally interested in postcolonial, subaltern and feminist approaches to human rights, law, sexual and gender-based violence and transitional justice. She is the author of two books: The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights (Routledge 2016) and Racialised Gang Rape and the Reinforcement of Dominant Order: Discourses of Gender, Race and Nation (Routledge 2017).

Kiran is currently working on a project entitled, ‘The Everyday Life of Human Rights’ focused on subaltern engagements with the language and institutions of human rights in post-war Sri Lanka.


Kiran is the Convenor of the MA in Human Rights, Culture and Social Justice.

Areas of Supervision

Kiran is interested in supervising projects on human rights, humanitarianism, transitional justice, feminist, postcolonial, decolonial and subaltern theory and politics. She is also interested in projects that adopt a socio-legal approach: looking at the relationship between legal and social norms.



Research Interests

  • Human rights
  • Humanitarianism
  • Postcolonial, subaltern and decolonial theory and politics
  • Feminist theory and politics
  • Transitional justice
  • Sri Lanka/South Asia
  • Socio-legal theory and methodologie

Publications and research outputs


Grewal, Kiran K. 2020. Essays. Colombo Sri Lanka:

Grewal, Kiran K; Ariyarathne, Kaushalya and Cegu Isadeen, Hasanah. 2019. Three Essays on Politics. Batticaloa, Sri Lanka: Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies, Eastern University of Sri Lanka.

Grewal, Kiran. 2016. Racialised Gang Rape and the Reinforcement of Dominant Order: Discourses of Gender, Race and Nation. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781472414991

Grewal, Kiran. 2016. The Socio-Political Practice of Human Rights: Between the Universal and the Particular. Abingdon: Routledge. ISBN 9781472414892

Edited Journal

Hemmings, Clare; Sabsay, Leticia; Grewal, Kiran K and Tudor, Alyosxa, eds. 2020. Confronting 'The Household' - Feminist Review Blog Special Series, Feminist Review Blog, .

Book Section

Grewal, Kiran and Cegu Isadeen, Hasanah. 2021. Between the Nationalists and the Fundamentalists, Still we have Hope! In: Jordan McKenzie and Roger Patulny, eds. Dystopian Futures: Emotional Landscapes and Dark Futures. Bristol: Bristol University Press, pp. 89-103. ISBN 9781529214543

Grewal, Kiran K. 2021. Feminist Responses to Conflict: Within, against and beyond the law. In: Tarja Väyrynen; Swati Parashar; Élise Féron and Catia Cecilia Confortini, eds. Routledge Handbook of Feminist Peace Studies. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 70-79. ISBN 9780367109844

Grewal, Kiran and Munasinghe, Vidura. 2016. Human rights and everyday practices of policing in post-war Sri Lanka. In: Leanne Weber; Elaine Fishwick and Marinella Marmo, eds. The Routledge International Handbook of Criminology and Human Rights. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138931176

Grewal, Kiran. 2016. Can the Subaltern Speak within International Law? Women’s Rights Activism, International Legal Institutions and the Power of ‘Strategic Misunderstanding’. In: , ed. Negotiating Normativity: Postcolonial Appropriations, Contestations and Transformations. Cham: Springer, pp. 27-44. ISBN 978-3-319-30983-5

Dagistanli, Selda and Grewal, Kiran. 2012. Perverse Muslim Masculinities in Contemporary Orientalist Discourse: The Vagaries of Muslim Immigration in the West. In: George Morgan and Scott Poynting, eds. Global Islamophobia: Muslims and Moral Panic in the West. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 9781138273429

Grewal, Kiran. 2012. International Criminal Justice: Advancing the Cause of Women’s Rights? The Example of the Special Court for Sierra Leone. In: Tonia St Germain and Susan Dewey, eds. Conflict-Related Sexual Violence: International Law, Local Responses. Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press. ISBN 978-1565495043

Grewal, Kiran. 2011. ‘The Natives Strike Back’ – L’Appel des Indigènes de la République and the Death of Republican values in Postcolonial France. In: Jo McCormack; Alistair Rolls and Murray Pratt, eds. Hexagonal Variations: Diversity, Plurality and Reinvention in Contemporary France. Amsterdam: Rodopi, pp. 223-244. ISBN 9789042032460


Grewal, Kiran. 2023. The Epistemic Violence of Transitional Justice: A View from Sri Lanka. International Journal of Transitional Justice, 17(2), pp. 322-338. ISSN 1752-7716

Grewal, Kiran. 2021. Privilege, Precarity and the Epistemic and Political Challenge of Covid-19. Portal: Journal of Multidisciplinary International Studies, 17(1-2), pp. 7-13. ISSN 1449-2490

Grewal, Kiran K. 2020. Resisting the Violence of Common Sense. Feminist Review Blog,

Grewal, Kiran. 2019. The Role of Victims in Transitional Justice: Agency, Cooption and Exclusion (Review Essay). International Journal of Transitional Justice, 13(3), pp. 608-619. ISSN 1752-7716

Grewal, Kiran K. 2018. Working with the complexity and diversity of reality: Rethinking the approach to human rights praxis. Law and Society Trust Review, 29(346), pp. 11-20.

Grewal, Kiran K. 2018. Politics beyond institutions: The creation of new social imaginaries in post-war Sri Lanka. Social Alternatives, 37(4), pp. 55-59.

Grewal, Kiran K. 2017. Book Review: Tuba Inal, Looting and Rape in War Time: Law and Change in International Relations. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 19(3), ISSN 1323-238X

Grewal, Kiran K. 2017. Book Review: Ben Golder, Foucault and the politics of rights. Australian Journal of Human Rights, 23(1), pp. 135-138. ISSN 1323-238X

Grewal, Kiran. 2015. International Criminal Law as a Site for Enhancing Women’s Rights? Challenges, Possibilities, Strategies. Feminist Legal Studies, 23(2), pp. 149-165. ISSN 0966-3622

Grewal, Kiran. 2014. Rape in Conflict, Rape in Peace: Questioning the Revolutionary Potential of International Criminal Justice for Women’s Human Rights. Australian Feminist Law Journal, 33(1), pp. 57-79. ISSN 1320-0968

Celermajer, D. and Grewal, Kiran. 2013. Preventing Human Rights Violations 'From the Inside': Enhancing the Role of Human Rights Education in Security Sector Reform. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 5(2), pp. 243-266. ISSN 1757-9619

Grewal, Kiran. 2012. Reclaiming the Voice of the ‘Third World Woman’. Interventions: International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 14(4), pp. 569-590. ISSN 1369-801X

Grewal, Kiran. 2012. Australia, the Feminist Nation? Discourses of Gender, ‘Culture’ and Nation in the ‘K Brothers’ Gang Rapes. Journal of Intercultural Studies, 33(5), pp. 509-528. ISSN 0725-6868

Grewal, Kiran. 2012. The Protection of Sexual Autonomy under International Criminal Law: The International Criminal Court and the Challenge of Defining Rape. Journal of International Criminal Justice, 10(2), pp. 373-396. ISSN 1478-1387



Grewal, Kiran and Celermajer, D.. 2015. Issues Paper 4: Human Rights in the Nepali Law Enforcement and Security Sector. Project Report. Enhancing Human Rights Protections in the Security Sector in the Asia Pacific.

Grewal, Kiran and Celermajer, D.. 2015. Issues Paper 3: Human Rights in the Sri Lankan Law Enforcement and Security Sector. Project Report. Enhancing Human Rights Protections in the Security Sector in the Asia Pacific.

Munasinghe, Vidura; Ariyarathne, Kaushalya; Chandrasekera, Thilini; Celermajer, D. and Grewal, Kiran. 2015. Issues Paper 9: Human Rights in the Sri Lankan Law Enforcement Sector – Puttalam District. Project Report. Enhancing Human Rights Protections in the Security Sector in the Asia Pacific.


Grewal, Kiran K. 2018. Do we need human rights law?. The Conversation.

Grewal, Kiran. 2017. To change torture practices, we must change the entire system. Open Democracy.

Grewal, Kiran. 2016. Creativity and resilience: how do war survivors make transitional justice work for them?. The Conversation.