Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States

Marriott Conference Center B presented by Atlanta Pro AV

Sunday, 5:00-5:45

Daniel LeChance provides a thorough analysis and history of capital punishment in America. The vision of the state as simultaneously technocracy and vigilante posse (and of condemned inmates as monsters vs. responsible subjects) has provided a rich and contradictory cultural reservoir, one in which the law as well as popular culture show a resurgence of individualism in the post-War period that feeds the growth of the American demand for capital punishment. LeChance shows throughout the tension between pro-death penalty rhetoric and the actual administration of capital punishment (in decline).


Daniel LeChance


Daniel LaChance is assistant professor of history at Emory University where he also serves as the 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. 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.


Melissa Browning

Melissa Browning, Ph.D. is the Assistant Professor of Contextual Ministry at McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University in Atlanta, Ga. Her research and writing focuses on congregational and community-based responses to social injustice. Browning worked on the #KellyOnMyMind Collective, a public activism campaign seeking clemency for death row inmate Kelly Gissendaner. Kelly was killed by the state of Georgia on September 30, 2015.

Beyond Browning's work on the death penalty and criminal justice reform, she also works on issues related to global health and community development, particularly HIV and AIDS in East Africa. Browning is the author of Risky Marriage: HIV and Intimate Relationships in Tanzania.

Additional information about Melissa’s work can be found at her website: www.melissabrowning.com.