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Ellen Herman

Ellen Herman profile picture
  • Affiliation: faculty
  • Title: Professor of History
  • Additional Title: Vice Provost for Academic Affairs; Faculty Co-Director, Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics
  • Phone: 541-346-3699
  • Office: 280G Knight Law Center
  • Office Hours: by appointment
  • Affiliated Departments: History
  • Website: Website


I am a historian of the modern United States with special interests in the human sciences, social engineering, and therapeutic culture. My most recent book is Kinship by Design: A History of Adoption in the Modern United States (University of Chicago Press, 2008). I have also written two other books. One is about the impact of psychology on public policy and culture during and after World War II: The Romance of American Psychology: Political Culture in the Age of Experts (University of California Press, 1995). The other is a contribution to a series of books for young readers on "Issues in Lesbian and Gay Life": Psychiatry, Psychology, and Homosexuality (New York: Chelsea House, 1995). My work has been supported by fellowships at Harvard Law School and Radcliffe's Bunting Institute, as well as by a major research grant from the Science and Technology Studies Program of the National Science Foundation. I have explored the possibilities of digital public history with The Adoption History Project. My new research project, "Autism, Between Risks and Rights" was supported in 2011-2012 by a Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.