Building Faculty-Student Research Collaborations: The Project on the History of Botched Executions in 20th-Century America

Reunion Weekend 2012

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With the support of the Mellon Foundation, Amherst is undertaking a three-year experiment to develop new ways to equip students to collaborate with faculty in carrying out research in the humanities and social sciences. The object is to help change the way students think of themselves and their place at the college, moving them from being only receivers of knowledge to being creators of new knowledge. Austin Sarat, the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science, will discuss this effort. With student collaborators Heather Richard ’13 and Henry Weaver ’13, he will describe their project, a study of the history of botched executions in 20th-century America. What impact do these gruesome spectacles have on the way Americans think about capital punishment? Do they undermine its legitimacy, or are they merely unforeseeable and regrettable accidents with no larger meaning? Professor Sarat and his student collaborators hope to provide a behind-the-scenes look at an exciting new venture at the college and also a look back at a century of botched executions. Read more about the project.