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. Her PhD focused on a critical study of televisual archives, providing an interrogation of the construction and transmission of discourses of ‘race’ and ‘ethnicity’ and their relations to ‘place’, “belonging’ and ‘Irishness’ on Ireland’s national broadcasting channel. 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 a variety of social geographies, most especially issues focused on 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 GGSD
  • Exams Officer


Research Interests

  • Legal Geographies
  • Trafficking & Forced Migration
  • Geographies of Ethnicity
  • Critical Media Geographies


Teaching Interests

  • GG3237 Political and Cultural Geographies of the Border
  • G1001 Geography: Earth, Environment and Society – Neoliberalism 
  • GG2012 Processes, Perspectives and Ideas in Geography – Foucauldian Theory
  • GG3201/3202/3203 Method, Field, Data: Researching Geographies in Practice –Field Course in Human Geography
  • SG4221 Review Essay – Supervisor
  • GG4297/8 Dissertation – Supervisor
  • SS5103 Qualitative Research Training in Social Sciences – Visual Research Methods