University of St Andrews


Photo of Sharon Leahy


Sharon’s principal research interests lie in the often hidden social geographies of difference, marginalisation and belonging. Sharon’s interests have built on the work applied to her PhD, to critically assess the discursive construction and consequent actualisation of difference, and its impact on the social construction of the most forgotten in society. She has acquired a specific interest in the ways in which elites produce and regulate knowledge in nuanced ways, allowing for the creation and legitimisation of particular understandings in relation to cultural difference, juridico-political processes, the constitution of threat, and discourses surrounding transnational flows. Sharon is currently researching the ways in which the sex trafficked person is constituted as homo sacer in juridico-political contexts. She is interested in revealing the social reproduction of bare life, focusing on how the creation and final enactment of trafficking law is often intimately tied to bio-political markers of identity creation (for the victim) and securitisation (of the state).


  • Deputy Director of Teaching 
  • Head of Year 4 
  • Dissertation Director


Research Interests

  • Geographies of ‘the Border’
  • Legal Geographies
  • Trafficking and Forced Migration
  • Geographies of Ethnicity


Teaching Interests

  • GG3237 Political and Cultural Geographies of the Border – next runs Sept 2017
  • GG1002 The World in Crisis? – Inequalities 
  • GG2012 (Re)Constructing environments, people and places – Sovereign, Disciplinary & Biopower
  • GG3201/3202/3203 Method, Field, Data: Researching Geographies in Practice –Field Course in Human Geography
  • SG4221 Review Essay – Co-ordinator and Supervisor 
  • GG4297/8 & SD4299 Dissertation – Co-ordinator & Supervisor
  • GG4201 Advanced Debates in Geography - Co-ordinator

Postgraduate Students