The 2014 USIH Conference schedule is almost ready for release! In the meantime, we wanted to draw attention to few of the events we have planned: On Thursday night, the conference will open with a plenary on THE IDEOLOGY PROBLEM […]
We are pleased to announce our selection of Ajay K. Mehrotra’s Making the Modern American Fiscal State: Law, Politics, and the Rise of Progressive Taxation, 1877-1929 (Cambridge University Press, 2013) as this year’s winner of the S-USIH annual book award […]
Intellectual historian and S-USIH member Dorothy Ross wanted to make this community aware of the dire situation of the American Sociological Association’s archives. The archival collective is massive, significant, and in danger of being lost. The ASA has sent out […]
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The following guest post is from Anthony Santoro. Santoro teaches at Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg Center for American Studies. His research focuses on religion, religion and politics, religion and the law, American Studies, culture and sports. His first book is Exile and Embrace: Contemporary Religious Discourse on the Death Penalty (Northeastern University Press 2013). He joins John Bessler and Robert Blecker in contributing to a relatively recent scholarly discussion of the death penalty in the United States.
Executions have been in the news a great deal in 2014, and much of the time, they have been so because they have been “botched,” to take the word most commonly applied to executions that do not go “by the book.”
“Botched” is a peculiar word for this, in a way—it seems more apt to a Three Stooges scheme than a literal matter of life and death. In another way, it’s perfectly appropriate—this ‘soft’ register fits in with the way the American death penalty is designed to hide its violence as best it can.