Center for the Study of Guns & Society at Wesleyan

Newsletter – January 2023

Dear friends,

Happy 2023! As the new year kicks off, we are writing to express gratitude for your ongoing support of the Center for the Study of Guns & Society (CSGS) at Wesleyan University, and share updates on progress to date and plans for the year ahead. 

Thanks to you, we were able to hit the ground running following the Center’s launch in April 2022. In the fall semester, CSGS Founding Director Jennifer Tucker offered a new undergraduate course at Wesleyan, titled “Guns and Society,” accompanied by a research lab. The Center formed productive partnerships and collaborations with institutions such as Coltsville National Historic Park, The Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop, Springfield Armory National Historic Site, Buffalo Bill Center of the West (WY), Brown University’s Public Humanities Program, and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), and others. With additional support from the Mellon Foundation, the Center sponsored undergraduate research projects on firearms history and the history of gun violence in the Connecticut River Valley and across New England. Through these projects, students have engaged with collections at local museums, historical societies, and national historic sites, and presented their research to professional scholarly audiences.

In October 2022, CSGS hosted its inaugural fall conference, bringing together about 150 scholars, museum curators, artists, and students for two days of panels and presentations on a wide range of topics related to firearms history. We were gratified by the energy and enthusiasm in response to this event and look forward to building on it in future years. The Center’s external and faculty Advisory Boardsalso held their first meeting during the conference, initiating a productive exchange of ideas about the Center’s future.

Thanks to the fall conference and ongoing outreach efforts, CSGS has begun to form a national network of scholars, students, museum professionals, and others dedicated to the study of guns and society. Student and faculty researchers are working to build an online inventory of resources and syllabi to share on the CSGS website, with other faculty, and at next year’s conference.

The Center has also initiated small working groups dedicated to researching historical gun lethality, guns in the movies, and military history and museums. These groups will report on their ideas and progress in the spring.

We are working on many other exciting plans for the spring, including a new course on “Faith and Firearms” taught by CSGS Associate Director Joseph Slaughter, and talks by Tucker at the American Historical Association (AHA) annual meeting in Philadelphia and at Northeastern University and by Slaughter at the AHA and at the Business History Conference in Detroit. On April 28, the Center, together with Amherst and Trinity colleges, will co-host an undergraduate conference on “Guns and History.”

We will continue to update you on the Center’s work and invite you to contact us with any questions or ideas at Thank you again for your support. Wishing you a healthy and peaceful start to 2023.


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

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

Categories: Newsletter