OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Sarah E. Igo

Portrait of Sarah E. Igo

Sarah E. Igo is an associate professor of history and the director of the American studies program at Vanderbilt University, with affiliations in law, political science, sociology, 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. She is the author of The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public (2007), which explores the relationship between survey data—opinion polls, sex surveys, consumer research—and modern understandings of self and nation. The book was 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. Most recently, she is the author of The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America (2018). Igo 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