Center for the Study of Guns & Society at Wesleyan

Newsletter – March/April 2023 

Dear All,

As the Center for the Study of Guns & Society (CSGS) marks its one-year anniversary in April, we would like to share several developments over the past few months, as well as extend an invitation for upcoming events.

The Center will host the following events on the Wesleyan University campus:

  • On April 28, CSGS will host its inaugural Undergraduate Research Conference with participation and presentations from students and faculty at Wesleyan UniversityAmherst College, and Trinity College.
  • On May 5, CSGS will host a one-day symposium, “Lessons From History on Domestic Violence, Firearms, and the Law.” Every month, around 70 women in the U.S. are shot and killed by their partners, and the Supreme Court’s recent Bruen decision stands to make this crisis worse. This symposium will convene leading researchers and practitioners from a variety of perspectives for a wide-ranging conversation about how firearms and domestic violence are entwined, historically and today.  Register here.
  • Save the date: The Center’s second annual Fall Conference will be held on October 13 – 14. Details and registration to come.

Research and Teaching Updates

  • With funding from the New England Humanities Consortium, CSGS Founding Director Jennifer Tucker and Bryan WinstonMellon Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital and Visual Storytelling, are leading an innovative, cross-disciplinary teaching, learning, and design project in collaboration with Brown University, the Rhode Island School of Design, and the National Parks Service’s Coltsville Historic Park in Hartford, CT. This project combines student research, exhibit curation and design, and community engagement in ways that help students understand the interconnections between these fields, and builds on this student work to offer public humanities programming, an exhibition, and an academic colloquium.
  • Tucker chaired and Slaughter presented at a panel of the American Historical Association annual meeting in Philadelphia on “Originalism, the Supreme Court, Gun Laws, and History” on January 6. Tucker also gave guest lectures at Northeastern University (virtual) on February 21, and at Brown University (in person) on March 2. In March, Tucker visited several historical museums and spoke with historians and curators in Oklahoma and Southern California to explore potential research and teaching collaborations.
  • Students in CSGS Associate Director Joseph Slaughter Wesleyan course, “God and Guns,” toured the Church of the Good Shepherd on March 7. Slaughter presented a research paper, “God and Guns: Making Colt Christian, about the Church of the Good Shepherd in Coltsville,” at the Business History Conference (March 16 -18). He has organized and will chair a panel of three scholars researching Early Republic firearms at the Society for the Historians of the Early American Republic (SHEAR) conference in July.

In the News

  • The New York Times cited Tucker and the Center in an article on March 14 about the demand for expertise on firearms history and laws following the landmark Bruen Supreme Court decision.
  • Current, an online journal on contemporary culture, politics, and ideas, interviewed Slaughter about his research on how Christianity and gun culture became intertwined in the U.S., including studying a church built in Hartford, CT to memorialize Samuel Colt.
  • In its Winter 2022-23 newsletter, the National Park Service highlighted a budding partnership between CSGS and Coltsville National Historical Park, writing: “The partnership represents a strong foundation for supporting current research and student engagement locally, throughout the Precision Valley, nationally and internationally.”
  • In January, Slaughter wrote an article for The Conversation US’s “Uncommon Courses” series about his CSGS course, “God and Guns: The History of Faith and Firearms in America.”


  • We are thrilled to welcome Deidre Goodrich as the new CSGS administrative assistant. Goodrich earned an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a BA in English from Dartmouth. She previously worked as the Foundation Director for Hospital for Special Care, where she led fundraising including major gifts and grants, and as Director of Donor Relations for The University of Connecticut Foundation in Storrs. She also served as Marketing and Public Relations Manager for the Hill-Stead Museum, developing and implementing a marketing and public relations plan for a National Historic Landmark.

Thank you for your continued support of the Center! We hope to see you at upcoming events this spring and in the fall. Please visit the CSGS website for updates and information, and do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or ideas at


Jennifer Tucker
Founding Director, Center for the Study of Guns & Society

Joseph Slaughter
Associate Director, Center for the Study of Guns & Society

Categories: Newsletter