Graduate Program Field
United States History
Cultural; Intellectual; Legal
Ph.D., Stanford University, 1989
B.A., Northwestern University, 1984
Research and Teaching Interests
Przybyszewski is interested in how people have used the power and authority of the state in the name of race, morality, religion, or even beauty. The Republic According to John Marshall Harlan (1999) explained how the only consistent 19th Century defender of black civil rights on the United States Supreme Court justified his famous dissents, including Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Przybyszewski became intrigued by Justice David Brewer, the most-widely read jurist of the late 19th Century. Her article on Brewer, "Judicial Conservatism and Protestant Faith: The Case of Justice David J. Brewer," Journal of American History (September 2004) is part of larger set of projects on the role of religious faith in the legal thought of ministers, doctors, and jurists in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. She became interested in the work of home economists and their role in teaching Americans how to dress when she discovered that the USDA had published pamphlets on what to wear. She teaches courses on legal and cultural history, including crime, the gap between popular and academic history, the era of the U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, and the history of fashion and dress.
Przybyszewski’s most recent book, The Lost Art of Dress put out by Basic Books in 2014 is New York Times bestseller. It recounts explains how Americans learned—and forgot—how to dress in the modern age. She is finishing a book on the Cincinnati Bible War which broke out when city's school board ended Bible reading in 1869 and received a Public Scholar Award for 2016 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is also the author of a booklet for the American Historical Association: Religion, Morality and the Constitutional Order (2011).
Department of History
219 O'Shaugnessy Hall
Notre Dame, IN 46556