Alumni (National Fellow)

Joanna Grisinger

National Fellow
J.D. University of Chicago
Ph.D. University of Chicago (2003)
Dream Mentor:
Dan Carpenter
Harvard University
Fields of Interest:
American Political Development
Legal History


Joanna Grisinger is associate professor of instruction and director of undergraduate studies in the Center for Legal Studies at Northwestern University. Grisinger received her J.D. and Ph.D (History) from the University of Chicago, and she works in twentieth-century U.S. legal and political history with a focus on the modern administrative state. Her first book, “The Unwieldy American State: Administrative Politics Since the New Deal” (Cambridge University Press, 2012), offers a political history of administrative law reform. Her current research examines the relationship between administrative agencies and public interest groups and explores public interest participation in administrative decision making. Grisinger is a co-founder and co-organizer of the Law & History Collaborative Research Network (established 2013) within the Law and Society Association, is a board member of the American Society for Legal History, and is one of two section editors for the Legal History section of Jotwell.com.

Thesis Description:

Reforming the State: Reorganization and the Federal Government, 1937-1964
In her dissertation, Joanna demonstrated that the period beginning in 1937 was a significant era of government reform of the structures and procedure of the federal government. The procedural reforms of the time created an entirely new administrative framework and system of governance. Her dissertation examined how the federal government developed an uneasy compromise with administrative agencies and administrative forms in this era, and how these organizational and procedural changes influenced the policies that emerged from this new system of democratic governance.

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