Legal Historian and Author to Speak at OU Law on the History of the Automobile and its Impact on Law Enforcement

September 4, 2019 | By Melissa Caperton, Director of Communications
Professor Sarah A. Seo

Media Contact: 
Melissa Caperton
(405) 325-2227

NORMAN, OKLA. – Sarah A. Seo, a legal scholar of criminal law and procedure in the 20th century United States, will speak at a public lecture set for noon on Thursday, Sept. 12, in the Kerr Student Lounge at the University of Oklahoma College of Law.

Seo’s talk will focus on her book, Policing the Open Road: How Cars Transformed American Freedom, which examines how the rise of the automobile inadvertently led to more intrusive policing – with profound consequences for racial equality in the criminal justice system. 

“We look forward to welcoming Sarah Seo to the College of Law and learning more about how our society’s evolving interpretation of freedom has led to far-reaching political and legal consequences,” said OU Law Interim Dean Katheleen Guzman. “Her knowledge on this subject will offer a unique perspective for all of our students, who will one day pledge to promote and improve greater access to justice.”

As an associate professor of law at the University of Iowa College of Law, Seo teaches courses on criminal procedure investigations and adjudication, criminal law, and crime and punishment in American history. In addition to Policing the Open Road, she has published in the Yale Law JournalLaw and Social Inquiry, Law and History Review, The Atlantic, Le Monde Diplomatique and the Washington Post, among others.

Seo has received numerous grants, fellowships and awards, including the Professor Eric K. Yamamoto Emerging Scholar Award from the Conference of Asian Pacific American Law Faculty and the Dissertation Prize from the Law and Society Association. Prior to joining Iowa Law, she received the Samuel I. Golieb Fellowship at NYU Law School and the Charles W. McCurdy/Miller Center Fellowship at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Seo earned her A.B. and Ph.D., both in history, at Princeton University. After earning her law degree at Columbia Law School, she clerked for Judge Denny Chin, then of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and Judge Reena Raggi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. She also has practiced at an international law firm and as a pro bono lawyer.

Limited seating is available by reservation for OU students, faculty, staff and members of the public. For reservations, more information and accommodations, please call the OU College of Law at (405) 325-7479 or email

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