LaChance Co-Organizes Upcoming Conference ‘Unsettling Law’ at Emory School of Law

Dr. Daniel LaChance, Winship Distinguished Research Professor and Associate Professor of History, has co-organized and will present at a conference on Emory’s campus this week. Titled “Unsettling Law,” the conference is the 24th annual gathering of the Association for the Study of Law, Culture, and the Humanities (LCH). LaChance is currently treasurer of the organization. The Emory University School of Law will host the June 16-17 gathering, which will include mostly in-personal conversations with virtual attendance options available for some events.

LaChance will chair a panel titled “Rethinking Retribution” and present a paper – “Captain Vere’s Electric Chair: The Cultural Politics of State Killing in the Late 19th Century United States” – on a panel centered on “Affect, Attachment and Capital Punishment.” In addition to panels and in an effort to foster the next generation of scholars in law and the humanities, the LCH is holding an all-day workshop for 15 Ph.D. students on Wednesday, June 15, and partially subsidizing their travel and accommodations. Read the overview of the conference below and find out more information here.

Law often resides in the pull between what is settled and what is not. Precedent guides us until it does not. Law’s stability is in constant conversation with its own necessary responsiveness as well as with what troubles it from outside of legal institutions. Disobediences, whether civil or not, have the power to unsettle what is taken to be settled. And forces like climate change pose challenges to settled law by destabilizing what may make obedience and order possible at all. Law continually expands the range of persons it recognizes, for better or worse, while it claims across all changes that it serves the interests of all. Borders exclude but remain permeable, and we argue about what is owed to others regardless of their citizenship status. States claim sovereignty and face refusals from other sovereignties within their borders. Even settler colonialism is a process rather than an outcome, so what is settled and what remains open to different futures may be contested. How do and should we imagine law in these unsettled times? What creative forces might we bring to bear in these moments between past and future, whether for unsettling what ought to change or stabilizing what is endangered? How might different disciplines, methodologies, arts, literatures, and technologies represent, reinforce, or resist unsettling law? We invite proposals taking up that question from a variety of humanities-oriented perspectives.

Billups Awarded Grant for Research at the Southern Baptist History Library and Archives 

Graduate student Robert Billups has received a Lynn E. May Study Grant to support research at the Southern Baptist History Library and Archives in Nashville, TN. Billups received the same grant in 2020 to support work on an article project. The upcoming research will directly inform Billups’s dissertation, “‘Reign of Terror’: Anti–Civil Rights Terrorism in the United States, 1955–1976,” which investigates violence against participants in the mid-20th-century Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. Congratulations, Robert!

History Major Edina Hartstein Wins Cuttino Scholarship for Independent Research Abroad

Congratulations to junior History Major Edina Hartstein on winning a George P. Cuttino Scholarship for Independent Research Abroad for Summer 2022 travel to London for her Honors thesis. She will also be a Halle Institute Undergraduate Global Research Fellow. Her working title is “The League of Nations’ Advisory Committee on Trafficking in Women & Children: The British Empire’s Role & Impact.”

Hartstein writes that “The first history class I took, ‘Hist 190: Fake News,’ introduced me to the History Department. Not only did I learn a lot, but I built relationships that are still important to me. I met Dr. Judith A. Miller, who later became my major advisor, and pushed me to explore different areas within the field.” Hartstein will work with her thesis advisor, Dr. Tehila Sasson, who taught her “Race and the End of Empire.” That thought provoking class caused Edina to reconsider her understandings of empire, which has been critical for the development of her thesis.

Dr. Hannah Abrahamson (Ph.D. ’22) Hired at College of the Holy Cross

Dr. Hannah Abrahamson, a 2022 graduate of the doctoral program, has been hired as Assistant Professor of Early Modern Latin American History at the College of the Holy Cross. Abrahamson completed her dissertation, titled “Women of the Encomienda: Households and Dependents in Sixteenth-Century Yucatan, Mexico,” under the advisement of Drs. Yanna Yannakakis, Javier Villa-Flores, and Tonio Andrade. She looks forward to teaching courses on gender and sexuality and Indigenous history at the Worcester, MA, liberal arts college in the upcoming academic year.

History Department Welcomes New Faculty: Dr. Laura Nenzi and Dr. Tamar Menashe 

The History Department is excited to announce two new faculty hires. Dr. Laura Nenzi, a social historian of Early Modern Japan, will be joining the Department of History as Acting Full Professor in Fall 2022. Dr. Tamar Menashe, a historian of late medieval and early modern Jewish and European history, will join the Department of History and the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in History and Jewish Studies in Fall 2022. Menashe will begin her appointment as the Jay and Leslie Cohen Assistant Professor of History and Jewish Studies in Fall 2023. Welcome to you both!

First Year PhD Cohort Delivers Hi-Five Research Talks

The first-year cohort of the History doctoral program recently presented their research in the annual Hi-Five end-of-year gathering. The format was adapted from the Three Minute Thesis model, developed by the University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. See the flier above for the names of the graduate students who presented and their research, and check out the images from the event below.

LaChance Publishes ‘Crimesploitation: Crime, Punishment, and Pleasure on Reality Television’ with Stanford UP

Dr. Daniel LaChance, Associate Professor of History and Winship Distinguished Research Professor in History, recently published a new book with co-author Dr. Paul Kaplan, Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University. Titled Crimesploitation: Crime, Punishment, and Pleasure on Reality Television and published by Stanford University Press, the monograph investigates the enduring appeal of ‘true crime’ media in American popular culture. Dr. Michelle Brown, Professor at the University of Tennessee, offered the following appraisal of Crimesploitation: “Kaplan and LaChance move us toward a critical reckoning with the exploitative forms of (un)freedom that media’s spectacle of crime and punishment have conjured. A powerful dose of thoughtful accountability, this volume points the way to getting truly ‘real’ about—and intervening in—the suffering that a culture of punishment has produced.” Read more about the monograph below as well as on the Stanford UP website.

“‘Due to the graphic nature of this program, viewer discretion is advised.’ Most of us have encountered this warning while watching television at some point. It is typically attached to a brand of reality crime TV that Paul Kaplan and Daniel LaChance call “crimesploitation”: spectacles designed to entertain mass audiences by exhibiting “real” criminal behavior and its consequences. This book examines their enduring popularity in American culture. Analyzing the structure and content of several popular crimesploitation shows, including Cops, Dog: The Bounty Hunter, and To Catch a Predator, as well as newer examples like Making a Murderer and Don’t F**K with Cats, Kaplan and LaChance highlight the troubling nature of the genre: though it presents itself as ethical and righteous, its entertainment value hinges upon suffering. Viewers can imagine themselves as deviant and ungovernable like the criminals in the show, thereby escaping a law-abiding lifestyle. Alternatively, they can identify with law enforcement officials, exercising violence, control, and “justice” on criminal others. Crimesploitation offers a sobering look at the depictions of criminals, policing, and punishment in modern America.”


Klibanoff Named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Professor Hank Klibanoff, James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism and Associated Faculty in the History Department, is among four Emory faculty members who have recently been named to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among the nation’s oldest and most prestigious honorary societies, the Academy is also a leading center for independent policy research. Read Klibanoff’s biography below and learn about the other Emory faculty members selected here: “Four Emory professors named to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.”

“Hank Klibanoff is a veteran journalist, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Peabody Award-winning podcast host. He co-authored ‘The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle, and the Awakening of a Nation,’ which won the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for history. Prior to joining Emory, he was a reporter and editor for more than 35 years, holding reporting and editing positions in Mississippi, The Boston Globe and The Philadelphia Inquirer, and serving as a managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Klibanoff is director of the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory, for which students examine Georgia’s modern civil rights history through investigation of unpunished racially motivated murders. His podcast based on the project, titled “Buried Truths,” produced by public radio station WABE, was the winner of Peabody, Robert F. Kennedy and Edward R. Murrow awards.”

Webster Selected as Dissertation Fellow for Mellon Seminar ‘Visions of Slavery’

Congratulations to graduate student Anjuli Webster on being selected as a dissertation fellow for Emory’s upcoming Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Visions of Slavery: Histories, Memories, and Mobilizations of Unfreedom in the Black Atlantic.” Funded by a $225,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation, the seminar will bring together scholars at Emory and Atlanta-area universities to examine the “manifold ways slavery in the Black Atlantic has been archived, interpreted, memorialized, mobilized, and resisted.” Webster’s nine-month fellowship will provide opportunities to participate in planning the seminar, as well as support for conducting research and presenting findings related to the seminar’s central theme. Webster’s dissertation, advised by Drs. Clifton Crais, Mariana P. Candido, and Yanna Yannakakis, is titled “Water’s Power: Ecologies of Sovereignty, Race, and Resistance in south Indianic Africa.”

Graduate Student Jessica Markey Locklear Participates in UMBC Roundtable

Doctoral student Jessica Markey Locklear recently participated in a conversation hosted by the University of Maryland, Baltimore County’s Albin O. Kuhn Library. Titled “Indigenous Community Archiving and Collective Memory,” the virtual roundtable centered on community archiving projects within American Indian communities of Baltimore and Philadelphia. Locklear was joined in the conversation by Siobhan Hagan (founding director, Mid-Atlantic Regional Moving Image Archive), Tiffany Chavis (Consulting Archivist, UMBC), and Ashley Minner (Assistant Curator for History and Culture, Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian). Locklear’s dissertation, advised by Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, is titled “The Other Lands We Know: Lumbee Migrations and the Maintenance of Indian Identity, 1880-1980.”