Distinguished Teaching Fellow 2022–2025
Lawrence Cappello is an assistant professor in the Department of History. His focus is U.S. Legal & Constitutional History — particularly the right to privacy. He is the founder and director of UA’s Legal History Concentration, and author of None of Your Damn Business: Privacy in the United States from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age (University of Chicago Press). Among his course offerings are U.S. Constitutional History I & II, the Right to Privacy, and the Great Cases in U.S. Legal History. He received his PhD from the City University of New York.
To teach students how legal scholars think is to teach them how to be inherently skeptical. And a practiced sense of skepticism, when properly fleshed-out, can instill a strong sense of pride and individuality. My approach to teaching draws heavily from Socratic discussion methods designed to instill critical thinking habits that will persist well after the semester ends. Critical thinking skills should be packaged as a way for students to understand the nuances of where power really lies, to be less susceptible to group think, and to construct their own individual intellectual identities, regardless of their major. The goal is for students to leave the classroom with a keen understanding that intellectual complexity and viewpoint diversity are not vices.