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Dr David Nally

Fellow, Director of Studies in Geography
University Senior Lecturer
Human Geography

David Nally is a University Senior Lecturer and a Director of Studies in Geography at Jesus College.

Academic interests

Geography, one wit said, is like physics slowed down and with a few trees thrown in. Certainly physical geographers are interested in the properties of matter and the nature of phenomena, but as a human geographer I am principally concerned with the study of the Earth: how ‘we’ make geography and how it in turn makes ‘us’. A modest project that keeps me happily absorbed and busy.

I have research interests in the history of American philanthropy, the political economy of global agriculture, with a focus on the factors framing hunger, and the comparative study of European colonialism, including the history of ‘internal colonialism’ or what we might conceptualise as the geographical limits to full citizenship. I also have a longstanding interest in social theory and the history of ideas.

Degrees obtained

  • BA Joint Hons, History and Geography, University College Cork.
  • PhD in Geography, University of British Columbia.

Awards and prizes

  • The Rockefeller Foundation, Grant-in-Aid award, 2014.
  • Philip Leverhulme Prize, 2013.
  • CRASSH Early Career Fellowship, 2009.


I grew up in a rural setting in County Clare, on the west coast of Ireland, not far from the estuary of the River Shannon. I studied at University College Cork and the University of British Columbia in Canada before moving to Cambridge to take up a lectureship in Geography.

Other interests

Novels, film, music, various sports, countryside walks, cycling.

Department link

Publications, links and resources

Example publications

Nally, D. (2011) Human Encumbrances: Political Violence and the Great Irish Famine, University of Notre Dame Press. 366pp.

Nally, D. Morrissey, J., Strohmayer, Ul., and Whelan, Y. (2014) Key Concepts in Historical Geography, Sage.

Nally, D. (2015) Governing Precarious Lives: Land Grabs, Geopolitics, and 'Food Security'. Geographical Journal, v. 181, p.340-349. doi:10.1111/geoj.12063.

Nally, D. and Taylor, S. (2015). The Politics of Self-help: The Rockefeller Foundation, Philanthropy and the 'Long' Green Revolution. Political Geography, v 49, p 51-63. doi:10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.04.005.

Nally, D. (2016) Imagine All the People: Rockefeller Philanthropy, Malthusian Thinking and the ‘Peasant Problem’ in Asia. In: Mayhew, R. (ed) New Perspectives on Malthus: 250th Anniversary Essays, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nally, D. (2016). Against Food Security: On forms of Care and Fields of Violence. Global Society, v. 30, p.558-582. doi:10.1080/13600826.2016.1158700.

Nally, D. and Brooks, C. (2018). From the Teen to the Green Revolution: American Philanthropy and Youth Club Work in Northern Europe. Journal of Historical Geography, v. 61, p.27-43. doi:10.1016/j.jhg.2018.03.002.

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