I am a Faculty Fellow at the University of Michigan Law School. My primary fields of interest are in social and legal history and include the study of place, local governance, gender and sexuality, and race. This spring I am teaching a seminar about law in rural America.
My current book project is transforming my dissertation, “Cows, Cars, and Criminals: The Legal Landscape of the Rural Midwest, 1920-1975,” into a monograph. I argue that the legal remaking of rural communities was a central feature of twentieth-century America. The project utilizes case studies to examine critical topics that historians and legal scholars have framed as quintessentially urban issues—land use and zoning, policing and prosecution, education equality, labor and economic opportunity, local community organizing and advocacy, and infrastructure and mobility—and reveals their manifestations in rural geographies, economies, and social norms. The result is a new legal history that tells not a story of rural decline but a story of the rural Midwest in a constant process of transformation along lines of class, race, and gender. Learn more about the book project here, and other current research projects here.
In addition to my academic research, I serve on the Advisory Board of Women Also Know History and am a member of the founding team. #WomenAlsoKnowHistory works to promote and support the work of women historians by offering a concrete way to address explicit and implicit gender bias in public and professional perceptions of historical expertise. You can learn more here, and follow us on Twitter here. In the past, I have served as an associate blogger for the Legal History Blog, and I continue to tweet @EmilyAPrifogle.
I received my BA in history and art history from Indiana University, a MSc in comparative social policy from Oxford, a JD from the University of California, Berkeley, and a PhD in history at Princeton University. I also clerked for Judge David Hamilton on the Seventh Circuit. My interdisciplinary background continues to inform my scholarship and interest in public history, as well as other research that is focused on recovering marginalized voices within twentieth century social movements.
Upcoming Conference Attendance & Talks
November 21-24: American Society for Legal History
Updated July 2019