Sarah Milov

Sarah Milov

Associate Professor

Nau 435
Office Hours: W, 1:30-3:30PM

Field & Specialties

Modern United States
Political and Social Movements
History of Capitalism
Legal History
History of Work


Ph.D. Princeton University, 2013

M.A. Princeton University, 2009

B.A.  Harvard , 2007


I am a historian of the twentieth century United States. My work focuses on how organized interest groups and everyday Americans influence government policy and the terms of political debate. My current research focuses on the rise of whistleblowing as a form of regulation, a labor right, a mechanism for bureaucratic accountability, a way to save money, and a very contested expression of idealized citizenship.

Along with Katherine Turk, I am currently working on SILKWOOD, a political biography of nuclear whistleblower Karen Silkwood. We focus on the civil case brought by her estate, Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee—a case that began in Oklahoma City but ended up before the Supreme Court in a decision that vindicated the right of employees to sue the nuclear industry in state courts. SILKWOOD shows how the social forces of the 1970s—feminism, environmentalism, civil libertarianism, organized labor—produced a nuclear martyr, and trial of the century.

My first book, The Cigarette: A Political History is a history of tobacco in the twentieth century that places farmers, government officials, and citizen-activists at the center of the story. Rather than focusing exclusively on "Big Tobacco," I argue that  domestic and global cigarette consumption rose through the efforts of organized tobacco farmers and US government officials; and that it fell as a result of local government action spurred by the efforts of citizen-activists and activist lawyers. The Cigarette won the Willie Lee Rose Prize from the Society for Southern Women Historians for the best book in Southern History and the PROSE Award for North American History from the Association of American Publishers. It was a finalist for the LA Times Book prize and one of Smithsonian Magazine's "Best History Titles of 2019." 




Awards & Honors

Princeton University Center for Human Values Residential Fellow (2022-2023)

Mead Endowment Faculty Award (2018-2019) 

Fellow, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (2017)

Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education, University of California-San Francisco (Fall 2013)

Woodrow Wilson Society of Fellows, Princeton University (2011-2012)


Courses Taught

FORU 1500: American Dreams 

HIST 4890: Distinguished Majors Program Seminar 

HIUS 1501: Disasters in America from Cholera to Katrina

HIUS 1501: The United States through Tobacco

HIUS 3151: Moralizing, Modernizing and Mass Politics, US 1900-1945

HIUS 3171: United States Since 1945

HIUS 3559: United States in the 1970s

HIUS 4500/STS3500: Debating Science in Modern America

HIUS 4501: Eugenics 

HIUS 9021: United States in Transnational Perspective (Graduate Tutorial)

HIUS 9022: History of US Capitalism (Graduate Tutorial)