OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Sarah E. Igo

Portrait of Sarah E. Igo

Sarah E. Igo is the Andrew Jackson Professor of American History and Dean of Strategic Initiatives at Vanderbilt University, with affiliations in law, political science, sociology, American studies, and medicine, health, and society. Her research interests center on American cultural and intellectual history, the history of the human sciences, the sociology of knowledge, and the history of privacy and the public sphere. Most recently, she is the author of The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America (2018), which traces debates reshaping the meaning of privacy from the era of "instantaneous photography" in the late 19th century to the era of big data. The book won the Jacques Brazen Prize in Cultural History from the American Philosophical Society, the Merle Curti Award for Intellectual History from the Organization of American Historians, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Prize from the Phi Beta Kappa Society. The book was named one of the "Notable Non-Fiction Books of 2018" by The Washington Post. Igo is also the author of The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public (2007), a New York Times Editors' Choice selection and one of Slate’s best books of the year as well as the winner of the President’s Book Award of the Social Science History Association and the Cheiron Book Prize. Igo is a co-author on the bestselling textbook, The American Promise, as well. She has held fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Whiting Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, including its New Directions Fellowship in 2012–2015 to acquire training in legal history and sociolegal thought. She has been a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and a visiting fellow at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University. She also founded and codirected the National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education, a national initiative to promote the liberal arts.

OAH Lectures