Daniel Nichanian


Senior Research and Editorial Fellow

The Justice Collaborative/Fair Punishment Project and The Appeal

I’m a fellow at the Justice Collaborative/Fair Punishment Project, and a writer at The Appeal. I research and write on criminal justice.

I received a PhD in political theory from the Political Science Department of the University of Chicago in 2016. My research and teaching interests lie in democratic theory, contemporary political theory, law and punishment, critical theory, and American political thought and history. At the University of Chicago, I taught a year-long course introducing undergraduate students to the history of political thought, as well as seminars in American political thought and in democratic theory. I’ve been published in Philosophy & Rhetoric, Syndicate Theology, The New York TimesThe Atlantic, DemocracyFiveThirtyEight, Daily Kos Elections, and Vox. From 2014 to 2016, I was the recipient of the Hanna Holborn Gray Fellowship. You can also find me on Academia (here) and Twitter (here).

My book manuscript, Seizing a Seat at the Table: Participatory Politics in the Face of Disqualification, examines how people act to participate in the business of government in contexts where they are not recognized as having the requisite qualifications so. It reconstructs 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.

I also have put together this cheat sheet of all the important but often-overlooked elections that are on the ballot in November 2018: for Congress and governor, of course, but also state legislatures, D.A.s, sheriffs, Supreme Courts, and much more. Check it out (spreadsheet here)!

Finally, you can check out The Appeal: Political Report, the website I have launched with The Appeal on the local politics of criminal justice reform and mass incarceration.