Photo credits:
Sarah Thorén

Wendy N. Espeland

Professor of Sociology, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Wendy Espeland received her PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago. She works in the
fields of culture, organizations, law, and knowledge production, with an emphasis on quantification
and accountability. She has written about the effects of quantification on indigenous populations
(The Struggle for Water: Politics, Rationality, and Identity in the American Southwest) and, with
Michael Sauder, on the effects of university rankings on higher education. She is also conducting
research, with Stuart Michaels, on the relationship between measures of sexual behavior and the
gay rights movement. Her articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, the American
Sociological Review
, Law & Society Review, the Annual Review of Sociology, theEuropean Journal
of Sociology
,and the Annual Review of Law and Social Science. She has received fellowships from
the Russell Sage Foundation, the Australian National University, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced
Study, and theWissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. 

While at SCAS she will be working on a book that examines commensuration—the transformation
of qualities into quantities—in four cases from different historical and institutional contexts: double-
entry bookkeeping, how measures of sexual identity shaped the gay rights movement in the United
States, creating a market for air pollution, and the development of visual aesthetics in the representation
of quantitative information.

This information is accurate as of the academic year 2018-19.