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Prifogle, Emily

Assistant Professor of Law

337 HH

​Emily Prifogle is a legal historian whose research focuses on the use and experience of law in rural areas. During spring 2020, Professor Prifogle will teach a seminar on Law in Rural America, which will examine how law shapes rural communities today and, in turn, how rural geography shapes legal and policy implementation.

Professor Prifogle is currently working on her book project, which argues that the legal remaking of rural communities was a central feature of 20th-century America. The project utilizes case studies to examine critical topics such as 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 a story of the rural Midwest in a constant process of transformation along lines of class, race, and gender in the 20th century.

In addition to her book project, Professor Prifogle's other research projects span criminal, labor, and constitutional law by focusing on recovering marginalized voices within 20th-century social movements. Professor Prifogle received her MSc in comparative social policy from Oxford, JD from the University of California, Berkeley, and PhD in history from Princeton University. She also clerked for The Hon. David Hamilton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Visit Professor Prifogle's website.

Recent Publications

"Winks, Whispers, and Prosecutorial Discretion in Rural Iowa, 1925-1928." Annals of Iowa 79, no. 3 (2020): 247-83.

"Law & Laundry: White Laundresses, Chinese Laundrymen, and the Origins of Muller v. Oregon." Stud. L. Pol. & Soc'y 83 (2020): 25-36.
Full Text: SSRN

"Law and Local Activism: Uncovering the Civil Rights History of Chambers v. Mississippi." Cal. L. Rev. 101, no. 2 (2013): 445-520.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | SSRN