Emily Prifogle, an assistant professor of law at the University of Michigan Law School, is a legal historian researching how individuals, as well as local, state, and federal governments, used legal tools to shape rural communities in the 20th century. She teaches property law, local government law, and a seminar on rural law.

Prifogle’s current book argues that the legal remaking of rural communities was a central feature of 20th-century America. The project uses 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.

Prifogle also is a co-director of the Program in Race, Law, and History and organizes Michigan Law’s Race and Property Law in Historical Perspective Speaker Series. Through her appointment in the history department, she advises undergraduate and graduate history students on topics of legal history.