Home Others Sarah A. Seo

Sarah A. Seo

  • Professor of Law
  • Full-time faculty

Princeton University, Ph.D., History, 2016
Columbia Law School, J.D., 2007
Princeton University, A.B., 2002

Fields of study
  • Criminal justice
  • Legal history
areas of expertise

Criminal law
Criminal proceedings
US legal history

kimberle williams crenshaw modeled her concept of intersectionality on a traffic intersection.

Sarah A. Seo is a legal historian specializing in criminal law and criminal proceedings in the United States in the 20th century. Your current book, Policing the Open Road: How Cars Changed American Freedom , examines the history of the automobile in order to explain the development of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and to investigate the problem of police discretion in a society subject to the rule of law. The book was named one of the ten best history books of 2019 Smithsonian-Magazine and has received multiple awards including the Order of the Coif Book Award, the Littleton-Griswold Prize from the American Historical Association, and the Ralph Waldo Emerson Award from the Phi Beta Kappa Society. In addition to publishing in scientific journals, Seo has for The Atlantic, Boston Review, Laphams quarterly, The diplomatic world The New York Book Review, and Washington Post.

After her J.D. from Columbia Law School, Seo worked for Judge Denny Chin, then for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, and for Judge Reena Raggi of the US District Court of Appeals for the 2nd District. Seo taught at Iowa Law School before joining the Columbia Law School faculty in 2020.

starting over in your 40s


8. April 2019 Harvard University Press

Policing the Open Road: How Cars Changed American Freedom

How the rise of the automobile, the symbol of US personal freedom, inadvertently led to increasingly intrusive policing - with disastrous consequences for racial equality in our criminal justice system.

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