The Department of History


Back to list

Pfeifer, Michael

Associate Professor



1998 PhD University of Iowa
1993 MA University of Iowa
1991 BA Washington University, St. Louis

Michael Pfeifer's teaching and research interests revolve around the history of collective violence and criminal justice in the United States, the social history of American Catholicism, and the cultural history of operatic and orchestral performance in the United States.  He is the author of Rough Justice: Lynching and American Society, 1874-1947 (University of Illinois Press, 2004), The Roots of Rough Justice: Origins of American Lynching (University of Illinois Press, 2011), and the editor of Lynching Beyond Dixie: American Mob Violence Outside the South (University of Illinois Press, forthcoming), as well as more than fifteen articles on the history of lynching and criminal justice, including “The Northern United States and the Genesis of Racial Lynching: The Lynching of African-Americans in the Civil War Era,” Journal of American History, Vol. 97, no. 3 (December 2010), 621-635.   U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana cited his book Rough Justice and entered his list of Louisiana lynchings into the Congressional Record on June 13, 2005, as she introduced Senate Resolution 39, which apologized to lynching victims and their descendants for the U.S. Senate’s historical failure to pass anti-lynching legislation.  His current book-length project is a social and cultural history of American Catholicism from its origins through the first decade of the twenty-first century.  The project, tentatively entitled American Catholics, examines the evolving social, devotional, and ideological matrices of American Catholicism through the perspectives of the histories of four individual Catholic parishes, in New Orleans, New York City, Wisconsin, and New Mexico.  Before joining the John Jay History Department in August 2007, he served for seven years as a Faculty Member at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington, and for a year as an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada.


Allison Kavey, Chairperson
445 West 59th Street, Room 4307N North Hall,
New York, NY 10019
Phone: 212.237.8819, Email: