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Daniel LaChance and Jennifer Vitry, “The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment, 1977-Present”

Don’t miss out on Daniel LaChance’s talk, “The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment, 1977-Present.” LaChance’s presentation will be followed by a roundtable discussion entitled “Capital Punishment and U.S. Culture,” including Jennifer Vitry.

Daniel LaChance is Assistant Professor of History at Emory University. 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 20thcentury. Articles he has written on this topic have 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.


JenniferJennifer Vitry is the executive director of NOLA Investigates, a New Orleans firm that provides mitigation and forensic science investigation in criminal matters, primarily for indigent clients facing the death penalty. She has worked in criminal defense for over 17 years and is certified in Blood Pattern Analysis as well as other forensic science fields. Jennifer has served as a mitigation specialist in capital cases for the past ten years, and has also mentored mitigation staff of nonprofit and public agencies since 2006. She has been involved in civil rights litigation and worked on capital cases at all stages (pre-trial through habeas), along with all other criminal matters. Jennifer was an investigator in the case of Damon Thibodeaux, who served 15 years on Louisiana’s death row before being exonerated and released in 2012. She is a Tulane graduate and a native of New Orleans.


This event is a part of the “Mass Incarceration and the Carceral State” Series, an initiative supported by Humanities Writ Large.


October 8, 2015
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Smith Warehouse, FHI Garage, Bay 4
114 S Buchanan Blvd
Durham, NC 27701 United States
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