• Ph.D., Harvard University
  • M.A., Tribhuvan University (Nepal)
  • B.A., University of Scranton


  • Development, Conflict and Human Security
  • Social Suffering and the Scholarship of Bearing Witness
  • Cultural, Feminist and Critical Approaches to International Development
  • Ethical Issues in International Relations
  • Sustainable Development
  • Conflict Transformation and Peace Studies
  • Foundations of International Aid
  • NGOs, Civil Society and Non-state Actors
  • Qualitative Research Methodology
  • Research Methods and Writing
  • International Political Economy
  • Asian Security Issues
  • Theories on the Causes of War

Research Interests

  • Socioeconomic Development, Democratization, Human Security and Post-conflict Transition
  • Structural Violence and Marginalized Communities
  • Refugees and Asylum
  • Politics, Society and Culture of South Asia, the Himalayas and Nepal
  • Anthropology and Ethics


Kathleen Gallagher is an Associate Professor of Graduate International Relations at St. Mary’s University and also the department’s Graduate Program Director. In addition, she is a Visiting Scholar at the South Asia Institute, University of Texas, Austin. Gallagher completed her undergraduate work at the University of Scranton in philosophy and psychology, her master’s degree in sociology at Tribhuvan University in Nepal, and her doctoral studies in anthropology at Harvard University. 

Gallagher’s work in Nepal and South Asia focuses on marginalized communities such as squatters, internally displaced populations, slave and ex-slave populations, and girls at risk for human trafficking. Her vocational interests are rooted in a desire to provide voice and visibility to people, stories and struggles that might otherwise go unheard or unseen.

Her research has been published in an assortment of peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Crossing the Border, Human Organization, a special edition of Studies in Law, Politics and Society, Journal of Clinical Psychology, Asian Journal of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Journal of Historical Sociology, and others. Her essays and short pieces have appeared in Journal of Anthropological and Archaeological Sciences, Anthropology of the Middle East and the South Asia Institute Newsletter.  She regularly presents her research findings at conference venues at home and abroad.

Gallagher’s research and writing address a range of issues including the structural production of inequity and the everyday violence of poverty; socioeconomic development, democratization, human security and post-conflict transition; asylum, legal proceedings and the translation of trauma and suffering; and ethics and anthropology. Gallagher further pursues these interests through the provision of expert witness for political persecution and at the Center for Refugee Services in San Antonio. 

Gallagher is a two-time Fulbright Scholarship recipient. She has also been fortunate to receive generous support for her fieldwork and research from a variety of other organizations, including the Social Science Research Council, Institute for the Study of World Politics, Mellon Foundation and International Rotary Foundation, among others.  Her writing has additionally benefitted from scholarships provided by Sarah Lawrence College and the New York State Summers Writers Institute for Advanced Nonfiction Prose.

Gallagher takes joy in creatively mentoring the passions of her graduate students, who have presented research papers and conducted roundtables and workshops around the country. She and her students co-founded a non-profit for malaria relief and a graduate student organization for cooperative international development. Past learning innovations include the collaborative research of sustainable development initiatives for women utilizing digital scholarship.

Gallagher regularly develops curriculum and crafts new course work in response to graduate student feedback and the changing global landscape, such as proposing and designing the recently launched graduate focus area in Sustainable Development and Conflict Transformation, as well as creating classes that addressed the COVID-19 pandemic in real time, one from the perspective of critical human security, the other through the anthropological lens of social suffering. 

Gallagher is a recipient of the Distinguished Faculty Award (St. Mary’s University) as well as the Alice Wright Franzke Feminist Award acknowledging those who promote peace, empowerment, civic engagement, cooperation, equality, and respect of all persons.  She served as a mentor for Collegium, a national Colloquy on Faith and Intellectual Life that examines and seeks to integrate intellectual and spiritual dimensions of one’s vocational life. As a Marianist Educational Associate, her classroom, research and outreach are inspired by the ideals of education for the common good, service and justice as well as the guiding principles of Catholic Social Teaching, such as preferential option for the poor.

Whether in the Rockies or the Himalayas, during her free time Gallagher loves exploring the mountains, especially in Colorado in the company of her nieces and nephews. One of her favorite quotes is the following from Mary Oliver’s The Summer Day:  “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  The search for answers continues to shape her personal and professional journey.

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