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.

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!

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.”

Chira Receives NEH Summer Stipend and Postdoc at Harvard

Dr. Adriana Chira, Assistant Professor of History, has been awarded two external grants to support work on her new project, “In the Plantations’ Shadow: Black Peasants and Land Claims in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Spanish Equatorial Guinea, 1850-1950.” Chira received an NEH Summer Stipend for this coming summer and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Weatherhead Initiative on Global History at Harvard University for AY 2022-23 to work on the same project. Chira’s first book, Patchwork Freedoms: Law, Slavery, and Race Beyond Cuba’s Plantations, was published by Cambridge earlier this year. Congratulations, Professor Chira!

Federal Civil Rights Cold Case Review Board Faces Time Crunch

In February of this year the U.S. Congress confirmed Professor Hank Klibanoff to the Federal Civil Rights Cold Case Review Board. The board has been charged with processing records of racially-motivated crimes from 1940-’79 that remain unsolved. A recent article from the Courthouse News Service provides an overview of the board’s work and discusses the time crunch the four-member team is under. As the 2019 law that sanctioned the establishment of the board was written, the work must be completed within four years. Klibanoff and other board members have yet to be sworn in, however, a delay that will pose serious challenges for the commission’s efforts. Klibanoff is James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism and Associated Faculty in the History Department. Read more via this article: “Newly formed board to review Civil Rights-era cold cases faces time crunch.

Lesser Named 2022 Eleanor Main Graduate Faculty Mentor

Congratulations to Dr. Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and Director of the Halle Institute for Global Research, on receiving the 2022 Eleanor Main Graduate Faculty Mentor Award. Named for an extraordinary Emory faculty member, mentory, and leader, the Main award has the following aims: to recognize outstanding faculty who are engaged in the Emory/LGS community and academic or professional communities related to their discipline through mentorship; to legitimize the importance of mentoring of graduate students within the larger context of graduate education; and to foster mentoring of the highest quality. Lesser’s nomination was supported by faculty in multiple programs across campus as well as PhD program alumni, who cited him as an inspiring mentor of graduate students. The award will be presented at the 2022 commencement ceremony.

Payne Wins 2022 Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award

Congratulations to Dr. Matthew J. Payne, Associate Professor of History, on winning the 2022 Emory Williams Distinguished Undergraduate Teaching Award. This award was established by Emory Williams, a 1932 Emory College alumnus and long-time trustee, and recognizes faculty who strive for excellence in teaching, curriculum development, pedagogy, and educational innovation. The award recognizes faculty members who teach undergraduate students at Emory College of Arts and Sciences, Goizueta Business School, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and Oxford College. Dr. Payne has excelled in fostering participation, inquiry, and creative expression in the classroom, exemplified the highest quality of teaching scholarship through teaching and mentoring students, retained a continual record of outstanding accomplishment and ongoing commitment to teaching, and made significant contributions that impact and advance Emory. Payne will be recognized at the 2022 Commencement ceremony.

Anderson Discusses the State of American Democracy on CBS News

Dr. Carol Anderson was recently a guest on CBS News, where she discussed the state of American democracy. Anderson offers historical context about both the distant and recent roots to undemocratic practices in the U.S. Anderson is Charles Howard Candler Professor and Affiliated Faculty in the History Department. Watch the full interview here: “Concerns raised about the future of democracy in America.”