Visiting Associate Research ScholarLAPA/Perkins Fellow
Home Institution, Emory University
LAPA Fellow, 2013-2014
411 Robertson Hall
Daniel LaChance is an Assistant Professor of History at Emory University. LaChance earned his B.A. in English from Carleton College and his Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His scholarship has focused, to date, on the sources, meaning, and implications of the "punitive turn" in the United States, the ratcheting up of incarceration and other forms of harsh punishment in the late 20'" century. 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 ideas, myths, and forces that underlay the revival of the American death penalty in the last three decades of the twentieth century. It argues that distrust of the state's use of disciplinary forms of power played a crucial and under-examined role in the American demand for capital punishment. Amid a larger neoliberal transformation of the political, cultural, and economic landscape, discourse about capital punishment legitimized the state's withdrawal of its claim to being the central provider of social, economic, and personal security. At LAPA, LaChance plans to finish the revision of his book manuscript and embark on a new project, a legal, cultural, and intellectual history of the deinstitutionalization of the mentally disabled and the mentally ill in the United States.