This information is accurate as of the fellowship year indicated for each fellow.
Michael Willrich teaches history and directs the American history graduate program at Brandeis University, where he specializes in American social and legal history, urban history, and the Progressive Era (1890–1920). A former urban affairs journalist, he is the author of City of Courts: Socializing Justice in Progressive Era Chicago (Cambridge University Press, 2003).
At the Radcliffe Institute, Willrich will work on his new book project, “Speaking Law to Power: Struggles for Civil Liberties in the Progressive Era, 1890–1920.” The project examines how ordinary Americans used the law to challenge and shape the growth of state power in such areas as public health, welfare, eugenics, and criminal justice. The project integrates the research techniques and central issues of social, cultural, and legal history, while speaking to larger debates about the character of American progressivism and the vitality of the rule of law in modern liberal states.
Willrich received his BA from Yale (1987) and his MA (1992) and PhD (1997) from the University of Chicago. He has received fellowships from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Bar Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Newberry Library. City of Courts won the American Historical Association’s John H. Dunning Prize for 2003.