Daniel LaChance joins the Department of History in the Fall of 2013. His work examines the sources, meaning, and effects of the “punitive turn” in the United States, the ratcheting up of incarceration and other forms of harsh punishment in the late 20th century. Articles he has written on this topic have been appeared in the journals Law and Social Inquiry and Punishment and Society. In 2011, his dissertation, “Condemned to Be Free: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States, 1945-Present” won the University of Minnesota’s Best Dissertation Award in the Arts and Humanities and was one of two finalists for the Distinguished Dissertation Award given by the National Council of Graduate Schools. The work, currently being revised for publication as a book by the University of Chicago Press, examines the decline of the American death penalty in the years following World War II, its revival in the 1970s, and its subsequent use over the past thirty years. In it, he argues that shifting ideas about freedom are embedded in the way that Americans have talked about and used capital punishment.
Dr. LaChance earned his B.A. in English from Carleton College and his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Prior to his appointment to Emory, he was an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Professor LaChance will be on leave in 2013-14. He will be the Law and Humanities Fellow in the Law and Public Affairs Program at Princeton University. While at Princeton, he will be revising his book manuscript and embarking on a new project: a legal, cultural, and intellectual history of the deinstitutionalization of those classified as mentally disabled and mentally ill in the United States.