Ellen Dwyer

Ellen Dwyer

Professor Emerita, Criminal Justice


  • Ph.D., History, Yale University

About Ellen Dwyer

Professor Dwyer is a historian whose research focuses on the history of social control in the United States and the study of medical problems to which a social stigma has been attached, mental illness and epilepsy, in particular. Her research and teaching interests also encompass the history of law in the United States, and the nature and causes of deviant behavior and the changing institutional responses to it over time. Professor Dwyer’s research has been funded by a number of public and private agencies, including the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Epilepsy Foundation of America. She is the author of Homes for the Mad (Rutgers University Press, 1987) and a number of articles and is currently writing a book based on her research on epilepsy, to be entitled The Burden of Illness: Epilepsy in the U.S., 1890—1950.

Professor Dwyer has a faculty appointment in the Department of History, is an adjunct professor in American Studies, Gender Studies, and History and Philosophy of Science  She has also served as associate editor of the American Historical Review. She has taught courses on research methods and the history of criminal justice in the United States, as well as a seminar, “The Mad and the Bad,” which covers policy responses to the problems posed by two different sorts of chronic social deviants: the long-term mentally ill and career criminals.