Photo: Dale Robbins

Susan Jacoby


Susan Jacoby is an independent scholar whose writing focuses on American intellectual history. She began her journalism career as a reporter for the Washington Post more than 25 years ago, and since then has become a respected voice in national conversations about law, religion and secularism, and women’s rights.

Her 11 works of non-fiction include Moscow Conversations (1972), about her experience living in Moscow in the late 1960s and early 70s; Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (2004); The Age of American Unreason (2009); and Never Say Die: The Myth and Marketing of the New Old Age (2011). The New York Times called Freethinkers “an ardent and insightful work,” and the book was recognized by the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as a notable nonfiction book of 2004. The Guardian and the Times Literary Supplement in England both called Freethinkers one of outstanding international books of the year. In January 2013, Jacoby published The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought.

Jacoby has been called “an unsparing chronicler of unreason in American culture,” and has been the recipient of grants and awards for her work from the Guggenheim, Rockefeller, and Ford Foundations, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. From 2001 to 2002, she was a fellow at the Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library.

Susan Jacoby was formerly a Program Director at the Center for Inquiry in New York, an organization dedicated to advancing public discourse on science, reason, and humanist values. She has also contributed to the’s “On Faith” section, offering views on religion from a secular perspective.