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Colm Lavery

<p>Colm Lavery</p>

Colm Lavery


BSc Geography, QUB 2008
MSc Environmental Engineering, QUB 2010
MA Modern History, QUB 2011




School of Geography, Archaeology and Palaeoecology (GAP)
Queen’s University Belfast
Belfast BT7 1NN
Northern Ireland, UK

Current Research: Society, Space and Culture

Geography and Eugenics in Britain and the United States, 1900 - 1950

The history of eugenics is a contested one; some scholars have looked at the political and social ramifications of the movement in an attempt to understand how a heredity-based science became embroiled in socio-political discourse (e.g. Searle, 1976; Thompson, 1998); others have shown the true global nature of eugenics linking it to ideas of imperialism, empire and international conflict (Campbell, 2007; Soloway, 1990). Furthermore, work by Mazumdar (1991) and Paul (1984) have highlighted the relationship between ideology and political identity and support for eugenics.

The aim of my research is to shed light on the role of geographers and geographical ideas in the history of eugenics. To do so, I am investigating the role geographers played in constructing ideas of race and ethnicity and what impact this had on eugenic discourse. I am also interested in how geographers integrated geographical theory into eugenic science, and how geographical thinkers incorporated eugenics into debates around immigration, national efficiency and intelligence.

My research is focused on intersections between Anglo-American geographic and eugenic thought. Of particular interest are the careers of four geographers (Herbert John Fleure, Ellsworth Huntington, Robert DeCourcy Ward and Stephen Sargent Visher) and the influence their geographical work had on eugenic thinking.


Dr Diarmid Finnegan
Prof David Livingstone

Additional Information:

Previously a demonstrator for GGY2024 – Geographical Research, GGY1006 – Spaces of Development, and GAP3004 – Knowledge, Space and Power