The Center for the Study of Guns and Society engages students in coursework and research across multiple academic disciplines on topics related to guns and society.
Through CSGS, Wesleyan University has offered some of the first undergraduate courses in the country dedicated to this topic, using innovative cross-disciplinary approaches that combine fields such as history, government, religion, and theater. Examples of courses offered through the Center include “God & Guns: The History of Faith and Firearms in America” and “War and Society.”
In April 2023, CSGS convened it first annual Undergraduate Research Conference on “Historical and Current Perspectives on Guns & Society,” which brought together dozens of undergraduate students, faculty, and staff from Wesleyan and Trinity and Amherst Colleges. Presentations covered a range of research topics in guns and society related to history, religion, literature, visual arts and material culture, public health and medicine, museums/public history/memorialization, film and media, and more. See photos from the event as well as a complete line-up of presentations.
CSGS provides a range of meaningful opportunities for undergraduate students to participate in research. Read about some of these projects:
- Studying Guns in Political AdvertisementsLatonya Smith ’24 and Emma Tuhabonye ’24 are studying guns in political advertisements through the Wesleyan Media Project. Their research aims to gain insight into how candidate traits—such as gender, partisanship, and race—may affect whether and how candidates discuss and feature guns in political advertisements. They used deep learning models … Read more
- Research in Collaboration with Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center (QAC)Through analysis of firearm data (from patents, ballistics, manufacturing, gun deaths, and marketing), this project aims to track advancements in firearms from innovation to use in broader society. Textual analysis of firearm patents will give insight into how various mechanisms (eg. safety features) have been adopted in guns available in … Read more
- Carceral ConnecticutThe Carceral Connecticut Project (CCP) is an interdisciplinary, humanistic exploration of how Connecticut remembers and denies its past, funded by a generous three-year, $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation. Through research, curricula, and collaborations with historical and cultural organizations in the Connecticut River Valley, the project seeks to fill … Read more
- Coltsville Historic ParkUndergraduates from Wesleyan, Brown, and RISD are working in collaboration with the National Park Service’s Coltsville Historic Park in Hartford, CT on a cross-disciplinary research and design project that will result in exhibits about New England’s hidden gun history. Coltsville is an important historical site in rough condition, with a … Read more