Author Talk: Sarah Igo

Detail of book cover for The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America

Author Talk: Sarah Igo

Invasions of Privacy: An American History

Privacy – and the threats to it – are everyday items in our news, and a worry to many in our digital age. Noted historian Sarah Igo will explain how our concerns about privacy have a history stretching back to the late nineteenth century. Well before our digital age, Americans worried that phenomenon such as popular journalism, government record-keeping, police investigations, and private market research could endanger their privacy. Igo, a professor of history at Vanderbilt University, will provide a wide-angle sweeping history of debates over privacy, from the era of “instantaneous photography” to the age of big data, uncovering along the way how the debates over what should be kept out of the public eye have shaped U.S. politics and society.

Igo’s author talk is based on her 2018 book, The Known Citizen: A History of Privacy in Modern America. Her first book, The Averaged American: Surveys, Citizens, and the Making of a Mass Public was an Editor’s Choice selection of the New York Times and one of Slate’s Best Books of 2007. It received the President's Book Award of the Social Science History Association.

Sarah Igo

Sarah E. Igo is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Program in American Studies, as well as the inaugural Faculty Director of E. Bronson Ingram College at Vanderbilt University.

Author talks take place in the Hagley Soda House Auditorium starting promptly at 7:00 pm. RSVPs encouraged, walk-ins welcome.  Please RSVP to Carol Lockman,, or 302-658-2400, ext. 243.