National Fellow

Emily Prifogle

Jefferson Scholars Foundation National Fellow
Fountaintown, Indiana
B.A. Indiana University Bloomington (2008)
M.S. University of Oxford England (2009)
J.D. University of California Berkeley (2012)
M.A. Princeton University (2014)
Fields of Interest:
Gender History
Legal History
Social History
Urban History


Emily Prifogle is a social and legal historian of rural communities. In May 2019, Prifogle will defend her dissertation, “Cows, Cars, and Criminals: The Legal Landscape of the Rural Midwest, 1920-1975,” which argues that the legal remaking of rural communities was a central feature of twentieth-century America through a series of five case studies. Beginning in the fall of 2019, Prifogle will be a Faculty Fellow at the University of Michigan Law School where she will teach a seminar on law in rural communities. She is a former associate blogger for the Legal History Blog and current advisory board member and co-founder of WomenAlsoKnowHistory.com. Before completing her Ph.D. at Princeton, she received a M.Sc. in comparative social policy from Oxford and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. She also clerked for Judge David Hamilton on the Seventh Circuit. Her interdisciplinary background continues to inform her scholarship and interest in public history.

Thesis Description:

Cows, Cars, and Criminals: Rural Communities, Law, and Nation in the Twentieth Century
Emily Prifogle’s dissertation, “Cows, Cars, and Criminals: Rural Communities, Law, and Nation in the Twentieth Century,” applies the methods of urban history to investigate rural communities as unique social and legal spaces. Using a series of case studies from several Midwestern states, including Michigan, Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, the dissertation argues that while national legal and political culture shifted away from rural communities in the twentieth century, rural Americans continued to express rural-based values and social norms through their use, manipulation, resistance, and understanding of the law, making the process of legally constituting the rural a central feature of twentieth-century America.

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The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, like its namesake, knows that virtue and talent come from all walks of life. Indeed it is this knowledge that drives the Foundation to search the world over for its recipients.

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The Jefferson Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship at the University of Virginia. Scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that is based on exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, scholarship and citizenship.

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