Photo of Brooke Depenbusch
Legal Studies
Assistant Prof.
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One University Plaza MS PAC 338
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Brooke Depenbusch is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research examines US social policy and the ways that its contours are shaped through legal, political, and social struggle. Her current book project argues that the ongoing expansion of economic inequality as well as the weakness of the 21st-century welfare state have their origins in longstanding political and social struggles which reach back to the 1930s. Her work focuses on the contentious history of state and local public assistance programs. By examining the ongoing struggles over this understudied corner of the welfare state, her research shows that it was grassroots attacks on these state and local assistance programs which gave rise to the broader war on welfare that has followed. She is a currently a fellow of the American Society for Legal History’s Wallace Johnson First Book Program. The dissertation research on which her book is based was awarded with the University of Minnesota’s Best Dissertation Award in the Arts & Humanities. Prior to beginning at UIS, she taught at Colgate University where, as visiting faculty, she was nominated for the Phi Eta Sigma professor of the year award. At UIS, she looks forward to working with her students and teaching courses which examine the intersections between law, inequality, mobility, poverty, and social movements.