Lawrence Cappello

Lawrence Cappello

Assistant Professor
Director, Legal History Concentration


  • PhD, The City University of New York

Research Areas

  • United States History


Research Interests

  • U.S. Legal & Constitutional History
  • The Right to Privacy
  • 20th Century U.S. Social & Political History

Courses Taught

  • The Great Cases in US Legal History (HY 309)
  • The Right to Privacy (HY 352)
  • U.S. Constitutional History I & II (HY 323 & 324)
  • The First Amendment (HY 351)
  • American Civilization Since 1865 (HY 104)

Awards & Honors

  • UA College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Teaching Fellowship (2022-2025)
  • The University of Alabama National Alumni Association Outstanding Commitment to Teaching Award (2021)
  • The John L. Blackburn Advisor of the Year Award (2021)

Selected Publications

  • On Privacy: Twenty Lessons for Practical People, Hachette Book Group: Workman Publishing, forthcoming.
  • None of Your Damn Business: A History of Privacy in the United StatesUniversity of Chicago Press, 2019.
  • “These Machines Know Too Damn Much,” Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective, 2022.
  • “Reports that ‘Privacy is Dead’ Have Been Greatly Exaggerated,” The Wall Street Journal, Sep 5, 2017.
  • “Big Iron and the Small Government: A History of Data Collection and Privacy in the United States,” Journal of Policy History, Vol. 28, No. 4, Fall 2016.
  • “Can Government Function Without Privacy?” The Atlantic, November 1, 2015.
  • “Privacy and the Profit Motive,” The Nation, May 4, 2015.

Current Projects

  • Watched at Work: A History of Surveillance in the American Workplace.
  • Co-Director (with Dr. Julia Brock) of the Birmingham Bar Association’s Oral History Project