Samuel Fury Childs Daly

Samuel Fury Childs Daly

Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies

External Address: 
1316 Campus Drive, 243A Friedl, Durham, NC 27708


Samuel Fury Childs Daly is a historian of twentieth-century Africa. His research bridges West and East Africa, and it combines legal, military, and social historical approaches to the study of the past. His current project considers the history of the Biafra War (1967-1970). This book manuscript, entitled A History of the Republic of Biafra: Law, Crime, and the Nigerian Civil War, draws a connection between the crisis conditions of the war and the forms of crime that came to be associated with Nigeria in its wake. Using an original body of legal records from the secessionist Republic of Biafra, it traces how technologies, survival practices, and moral ideologies that emerged in the context of the fighting shaped the practice and perception of crime after Biafra’s defeat. Connecting the violence of the battlefield to violent crime, it provides a new perspective on the discursive relationship between law and disorder in Africa after colonialism. His other areas of interest include customary law in the British Empire, the history of vigilantism in Tanzania, and the methodologies of African history.

Daly’s next project is a transnational history of military desertion in Africa over the longue durée. Moving from acts of desertion in the Kongo armies of the 17th century to the African experience in the world wars, it develops a comparative account of this under-appreciated current in African history. Studying desertion reveals that leaving the battlefield is often a socially productive act. At many points in African history (and in the African diaspora), deserters founded communities, created social orders, and generated new ideas about honor and obligation. Understanding desertion as a social and political decision, rather than an act of individual cowardice, has larger implications for the study of warfare in Africa.


Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Columbia University 2017

Daly, S. F. C. “The case against Victor Banjo: Legal process and the governance of Biafra.” Postcolonial Conflict and the Question of Genocide: The Nigeria-Biafra War, 1967-1970, 2017, pp. 95–112. Scopus, doi:10.4324/9781315229294. Full Text

Daly, S. F. C. “From Crime to Coercion: Policing Dissent in Abeokuta, Nigeria, 1900–1940.” Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, vol. 47, no. 3, May 2019, pp. 474–89. Scopus, doi:10.1080/03086534.2019.1576833. Full Text

Daly, S. F. C. “Hell was let loose on the country: The Social History of Military Technology in the Republic of Biafra.” African Studies Review, vol. 61, no. 3, Sept. 2018, pp. 99–118. Scopus, doi:10.1017/asr.2018.41. Full Text Open Access Copy

DALY, SAMUEL FURY C. H. I. L. D. S. “THE SURVIVAL CON: FRAUD AND FORGERY IN THE REPUBLIC OF BIAFRA, 1967–70.” The Journal of African History, vol. 58, no. 1, Cambridge University Press (CUP), Mar. 2017, pp. 129–44. Crossref, doi:10.1017/s0021853716000347. Full Text Open Access Copy

Daly, Samuel Fury Childs. “Dropped Subjects: Igbo Labor Migration to Fernando Po, 1940-1974.” Igbo Studies Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 2013, pp. 1–17.

Daly, Samuel Fury Childs. “Archival research in Africa.” African Affairs, Oxford University Press (OUP). Crossref, doi:10.1093/afraf/adw082. Full Text

Daly, Samuel Fury Childs. Biafra as Memoir. Africa Is A Country.