Daniel Nichanian


Editor, The Appeal: Political Report

Senior Research Fellow, The Justice Collaborative

I write on criminal justice, voting rights, local elections prosecutors, and political theory. I’m the founding editor of The Appeal: Political Reporta project of The Appeal that covers the local politics of criminal justice reform and mass incarceration. I’m also a senior fellow at the Justice Collaborative.

I received a PhD in political theory  in 2016 from the Political Science Department of the University of Chicago, where I worked on democratic theory, contemporary political theory. My research and writings have appeared in The Appeal, The New York Times, The Atlantic, DemocracyFiveThirtyEight, Philosophy & Rhetoric, Syndicate Theology, Daily Kos Elections, The New York Daily News, The Daily Beast, and Vox.

My dissertation, Seizing a Seat at the Table: Participatory Politics in the Face of Disqualification, examined how people work to participate in the business of government when they are not recognized as having the requisite qualifications so. It reconstructed the misunderstood logic of sociopolitical movements—like those of 1870s American suffragists or 1980s AIDS activists—that persist in contributing their views to domains marked by technical expertise, such as constitutional interpretation and scientific decision-making.

My work at The Appeal involves creating and writing for a new platform that brings local politics into view for a national audience, and sheds light on the political and ideological conflicts that shape the criminal legal systems. I also report on local elections for prosecutors and sheriffs, and on felony disenfranchisement.