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 combines legal, military, and social history to describe Africa's history since independence. His recent book, A History of the Republic of Biafra: Law, Crime, and the Nigerian Civil War (Cambridge University Press, 2020), connects the crisis conditions of the Nigerian Civil War to 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 how crime was practiced and perceived after Biafra’s defeat. By connecting the violence of the battlefield to violent crime, it provides a new perspective on law and politics in Africa after colonialism. This book won the J. Willard Hurst Prize from the Law and Society Association

Daly’s current project is a transnational history of military desertion 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 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. His other areas of interest include the global history of drug trading, customary law in the British Empire, and the history of policing and prisons.


Daly, Samuel Fury Childs. A History of the Republic of Biafra: Law, Crime, and the Nigerian Civil War. Cambridge University Press, 2020. Manual, doi:10.1017/9781108887748. Full Text Open Access Copy

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. “A nation on paper: Making a state in the Republic of Biafra.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, vol. 62, no. 4, Oct. 2020, pp. 868–94. Scopus, doi:10.1017/S0010417520000316. Full Text Open Access Copy

Daly, S. F. C. “Policing and the limits of the political imagination in postcolonial Nigeria.” Radical History Review, vol. 2020, no. 137, May 2020, pp. 193–98. Scopus, doi:10.1215/01636545-8092858. Full Text Open Access Copy

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 Open Access Copy

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 Childs. “Archival Research in Africa.” African Affairs, vol. 116, no. 463, Apr. 2017, pp. 311–20. Manual, doi:10.1093/afraf/adw082. Full Text Open Access Copy

Daly, Samuel Fury Childs. “The Survival Con: Fraud and Forgery in the Republic of Biafra, 1967-1970.” The Journal of African History, vol. 58, no. 01, Mar. 2017, pp. 129–44. Manual, 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. Biafra as Memoir. Africa Is A Country.