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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.

My research focuses on the 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 impact their geographical work had on eugenic thinking. I argue that geographical ideas particularly those pertaining to the influence of the environment on human constitution played a crucial role stimulating and in some cases reorienting eugenic discourse. Thus my works shed light on a previously under-researched area of eugenic history.


Dr Diarmid Finnegan
Prof David Livingstone

Additional Information:

Teaching experience

GAP1011 Human Geographies of the Modern World

GGY1012 Spaces of Development

GGY2024 Geographical Research

GAP2040 Geographical Research and Personal Development

GAP3004 Knowledge, Space and Power

GAP3075 Geographies of Outer Space


‘Stephen Sargent Visher, 1887 – 1967’ Geographers Biobibliographical Studies, vol. 34 (2015), pp 187-204

‘Review of American Geography and Geographers: Toward Geographical Science. By Martin, Geoffrey J.’, Journal of Geography. Available online at

 ‘Review of The History of East-Central European Eugenics, 1900-1945. Sources and Commentaries. By Marius Turda (Ed)’, Journal of Historical Geography (accepted – awaiting publication)

 ‘Situating Eugenics: Robert DeCourcy Ward and the Social Construction of ‘Alien Bodies’, Journal of Historical Geography, (under review)

Conference presentations

Spatializing Political Thought: A Critical Lexicon in the Making in 2015 (QUB)

The British Society for the History of Science Postgraduate Conference 2013 (University of Kent)

School of GAP Research Day, 2013 (QUB)

The History of Science, Technology and Medicine in Ireland 2012 (QUB)


QUB ‘Researcher Plus’ Award, (forthcoming – 2016)

British Society for the History of Science Travel Bursary, 2012/2013 - £300

Green Impact Environmental Auditing Award, 2012