School of Social and Political Science

Dr Harshan Kumarasingham

Job Title

Senior Lecturer in British Politics

Dr H Kumarasingham

Room number


Street (Address)

18 Buccleuch Place

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)


Research interests

Research interests

British politics, Decolonisation, Comparative politics, Political history, South Asia, Commonwealth politics and history, Monarchy, Australasia, British Empire, Constitutional politics, Constitutional history, Parliamentary studies, Westminster model, State-building, South-East Asia, Executive power

Dr Kumarasingham is happy to discuss supervising PhD applicants interested in the following areas:

  • British Politics and Institutions
  • Westminster Model
  • Parliamentary Systems
  • Regime Types
  • Decolonisation
  • Modern British Political History
  • Imperial and Commonwealth History and Politics
  • South Asian History and Politics
  • Constitutional History and Politics
  • Commonwealth Comparative Politics - especially Australasia and Asia

If you are interested in being supervised by Harshan Kumarasingham, please see the links below (open in new windows) for more information:


Dr Harshan Kumarasingham is from New Zealand where he read History and Politics completing his doctorate in Comparative Politics at Victoria University of Wellington.  His work, encompassing the disciplines of Politics, History and Law, is wide-ranging covering British Politics and History; Comparative Politics and History, particularly of the former British Empire and Commonwealth; South Asian studies; Constitutional history and politics; Executive Power;  State-Building and Decolonization; Parliamentary issues; the Crown; and the Westminster model and its export across the world.

Before coming to Edinburgh Harshan held many international appointments including Smuts Fellow in Commonwealth Studies at the University of Cambridge, Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and Lecturer in Comparative Politics at Ludwig Maximilan University in Munich, Rydon Fellow at King's College London and Endeavour Research Fellow at the University of Sydney.

Dr Kumarasingham is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London and also sits on their Advisory Board.  He is an Affiliated Scholar at the Centre of South Asian Studies, University of Cambridge and is a Corresponding Member of the Institute of Legal and Constitutional Research at the University of St Andrews. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.  He is Co-Editor of the Transactions of the Royal Historical Society published by Cambridge University Press.

In Edinburgh he is a member of the Edinburgh Centre of Constitutional Law, the Centre for the Study of Modern and Contemporary History, Centre of South Asian Studies and the Edinburgh Centre for Global History.

He also co-convenes the Keith Forum on Commonwealth Constitutionalism.

Dr Kumarasingham is currently co-editing The Cambridge Constitutional History of the United Kingdom for Cambridge University Press.


Also see my Academia page


A Political Legacy of the British Empire - Power and the Parliamentary System in Post-Colonial India and Sri Lanka, London: I.B. Tauris, 2013

Onward with Executive Power - Lessons from New Zealand, Wellington: Victoria University of Wellington/Institute of Policy Studies, 2010 

Edited Books

Viceregalism - The Crown as Head of State in Political Crises in the Postwar Commonwealth, Palgrave Macmillan, 2020

Liberal Ideals and the Politics of Decolonisation, London: Routldege, 2020

The Rise of Labour and the Fall of Empire - The Memoirs of William Hare, Fifth Earl of Listowel, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019

Speeches and Writings of Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam, Colombo: Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2019

Constitution-Making in Asia - Decolonisation and State-Building in the Aftermath of the British Empire, London: Routledge, 2016

The Road to Temple Trees - Sir Ivor Jennings and the Constitutional Development of Ceylon, Colombo: Centre for Policy Alternatives, 2015

Constitution-Maker - Selected Writings of Sir Ivor JenningsCambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2015


The Role and Powers of the Queen in the 2019 Brexit Political Crises - Reflections from British and Commonwealth HistoryJournal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 48, no. 1, 2020

Liberal Ideals and the Politics of DecolonisationJournal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 46, no. 5, 2018

Written Differently: A Survey of Commonwealth Constitutional History in the Age of DecolonisationJournal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 46, no. 5, 2018

The Queen's Favourite Club, The World Today, April and May 2018

A Transnational Actor on a Dramatic Stage – Sir Ivor Jennings and the Manipulation of Westminster Style Democracy: The Case of Pakistan, UC Irvine Journal of International, Transnational, and Comparative Law, vol. 2, 2017

Sir Ivor Jennings' 'The Conversion of History into Law', American Journal of Legal History, vol. 56, no. 1, 2016

Losing an Empire and Building a Role: The Queen, Geopolitics and the Construction of the Commonwealth Headship at the Lusaka Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, 1979, Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 43, no. 1, 2015 (co-authored with Ruth Craggs)

Semi-Presidential Regimes - Some Lessons for Australian Republicans?, The Round Table - The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairsvol. 103, no. 4, 2014 (co-authored with John Power)

Elite Patronage over Party Democracy - High Politics in Sri Lanka following Independence, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, vol. 52, no. 1, 2014

Exporting Executive Accountability? Westminster Legacies of Executive Power, Parliamentary Affairs, vol. 66, no. 3, 2013

The 'Tropical Dominions' - The Appeal of Dominion Status in the Decolonisation of India, Pakistan and Ceylon, Transactions of the Royal Historical Society, vol. 23, 2013

Constrained Parliamentarism in the New Zealand Regime, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, vol. 51, no. 2, 2013 (co-authored with John Power)

'The Jewel of the East Yet Has its Flaws' - The Deceptive Tranquility of Sri Lankan Independence, Heidelberg Papers in South Asian and Comparative Politics,  2013

The Indian Version of First Among Equals  Executive Power during the First Decade of Independence, Modern Asian Studies, vol. 44, no. 4, 2010

Independence and Identity Ignored? New Zealand's Reactions to the Statute of Westminster, National Identities, vol. 12, no. 2, 2010

Executive Power - 60 Years on has anything changed?, Policy Quarterly, vol. 6, no. 4, 2010 

Unicameralism: The Strange Eventful Death of the Legislative Council of New Zealand, Australasian Parliamentary Review, vol. 25, no. 2, 2010

Peter Fraser, Political Science, vol. 60, no. 2, 2008

'For the Good of the Party': An Analysis of the Fall of British Conservative Prime Ministers from Chamberlain to ThatcherPolitical Science, vol. 58, no. 2, 2006

A Democratic Paradox: The Communalisation of Politics in Ceylon, 1911-1948, Asian Affairs, vol. XXXVII, no. III, 2006

The 'New Commonwealth' 1947-49: A New Zealand Perspective on Indian joining the CommonwealthThe Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, vol. 95, no. 385, 2006


"Liberty and the Rule of Law" (with M. Strubenhoff), in Eugenio Biagini and Gary Gerstle (eds), A Cultural History of Democracy in the Modern Age (volume 6), London: Bloomsbury, 2021

"A Transnational Actor on a Dramatic Stage – Sir Ivor Jennings and the Manipulation of Westminster Style Democracy in Pakistan", in Tom Ginsburg et al (eds.), Constitution-Making and Transnational Legal Order, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019

"A Foreign Commission for Domestic Needs: The Constitutional Founding of Malaysia", in Kevin YL Tan and Bui Ngoc Son (eds.), Constitutional Foundings in Southeast Asia, London: Bloomsbury, 2019

"Rhetoric of the Realm: Monarchy in New Zealand, Political Rhetoric and Adjusting to the End of Empire", in Martin Thomas and Richard Toye (eds.), Rhetorics of Empire - Languages of Colonial Conflict after 1900, Manchester: Manchester Press, 2017

"Eastminster - Decolonisation and State-Building in British Asia" in H.Kumarasingham (ed.), Constitution-Making in Asia - Decolonisation and State-Building in the Aftermath of the British Empire, London: Routledge, 2016

"A New Monarchy for a New Commonwealth? Monarchy and the Consequences of Republican India" in Robert Aldrich and Cindy McCreery (eds.), Crowns and Colonies - European Monarchies and Overseas Empires, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016

"Constrained Parliamentarism - Australia and New Zealand Compared" (co-authored with John Power) in John Wanna et al (eds.), New Accountabilities, New Challenges, Canberra: ANU Press, 2015

"What if New Zealand had re-introduced an Upper House?" in Stephen Levine (ed.), New Zealand as it Might Have Been 2, Wellington: VUP, 2010

Staff Hours and Guidance

I am on sabbatical leave from January to August 2023.