Daniel LaChance

Assistant Professor

Department of History

Office: Bowden 120

Phone: (404) 727-9855

Email: dlachance@emory.edu


Daniel LaChance is Assistant Professor of History and Andrew W. Mellon Fellow in Law and the Humanities. 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 appeared in the journals Law and Social Inquiry, Punishment and Society, and Law, Culture, and the Humanities. His first book, Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States, was published in the fall of 2016 by the University of Chicago Press. The book 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 the nature of freedom reshaped the dominant meaning of capital punishment in America. LaChance has also contributed to national discussions on the past and present of the American death penalty through opinion pieces and news analyses published by The New York Times, The New Republic, and Newsweek.

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 the Emory faculty, he was an Assistant Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and a Visiting Associate Research Scholar in the Program in Law and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

My Curriculum Vitae


  • BA, Carleton College, 2001.
  • PhD, American Studies, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN , 2011.


  • Law and American Culture
  • Crime and Punishment in the United States
  • Social and Cultural History of the United States since 1945
  • American Legal History
  • Cultural and Critical Criminology