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“Social Life of Guns”: Research Symposium

March 29, 2018 - March 30, 2018
Rush Rhees Library

This event is free and open to the public.

Join us for a two-day interdisciplinary research symposium at the University of Rochester, sponsored by the Humanities Center, to examine what guns mean and how guns matter in the contemporary United States. This symposium will use interdisciplinary research and conversation to bring multiple forms of gun-related violence—“active shooter” prevention, “urban violence,” “police brutality”—into the same frame, to better understand how we can define the problem, and how these definitions animate particular solutions. The symposium will bring Rochester-area scholars, practitioners, and activists together with invited scholars in anthropology, public health, sociology, philosophy, women’s studies, and social work to share current research and generate conversation, with a wide focus on discourses of violence, safety, freedom, criminality, and harm; social inequality; disparities in health, economic, and legal outcomes; gun policy; and the social and political contours of data production, reception, and erasure.

Visitors can visit the Information Booth on Wilson Blvd. to get a visitors pass for $5 that will allow them to park in Library Lot, where we have reserved a number of spaces. There are also a number of metered spots along Wilson Blvd for short-term parking. Campus is also accessible by public transit, and buses drop off right outside the library.

You can find more information about parking here:

And maps here:




Symposium (March 29): Hawkins-Carlson Room

Symposium (March 30): Humanities Center, Conference Room D

UnPresidented Student Audio Project: (March 29, 10am-2pm): Humanities Center, Conference Room A


Thursday, March 29

9:00-9:15            Welcome + Opening Remarks

9:15-10:45          Panel 1: Policy/Prevention

9:15-9:35                State Gun Laws and Youth Access to Guns

Ziming Xuan, Boston University

9:35-9:55                Gun violence, mental illness, and the law: balancing risk and rights for effective policy

Jeffrey Swanson, Duke University

9:55-10:15              Keeping Guns out of the Hands of Known Domestic Violent Offenders

Jacquelyn Campbell, Johns Hopkins University

10:15-10:45            Discussion

11:00-12:30        Panel 2: Community

11:00-11:20           The Extent and Nature of Gun Violence in Rochester 

John M. Klofas, Rochester Institute of Technology

11:20-11:40           Using Community Capacity Development Approaches to Change Gun Use Mindsets

Jed Metzger, Nazareth College

11:40-12:00           Examining the role of personal loss in the wake of national tragedy

Catherine Cerulli, University of Rochester

12:00-12:30           Discussion

2:00-4:00            Panel 3: Power/Control

2:00-2:20               “When other folks give up theirs…” Black freedom and the gun control debate 

Akinyele Umoja, Georgia State University

2:20-2:40               Race, Rights and Rifles: Race and Gender Attitudes in Shaping White Public Opinion on Guns and the Second Amendment

Alexandra Filindra, University of Illinois - Chicago

2:40-3:00               A Good Woman With a Gun: American Mythologies of Race, Gender, and Self-Defense 

Caroline Light, Harvard University

3:00-3:20               Tactical Subjects: Whiteness and Masculinity in U.S. Gun Culture

Chad Kautzer, Lehigh University

3:20-4:00               Discussion


4:15-6:15            Screening of Move (2017) + Q+A w/ Tam Little, Anita Barley, and Chiara Smith


Friday, March 30


9:00-9:15            Welcome + Opening Remarks


9:15-10:45          Panel 4: Policing/Criminality

9:15-9:35                Race and the Social Construction of Innocence

Angela Stroud, Northland College

9:35-9:55                Smoking Guns: Obviousness and Tobacco-Causation in the Killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and Sandra Bland

Peter Benson, Washington University in St. Louis

9:55-10:15              Beyond The Police Man’s Burden: Gun Rights & Police Populism

Jennifer Carlson, University of Arizona

10:15-10:45            Discussion


11:00-12:00       Panel 5: State of the Debate

11:00-11:20           On Gun Control as Social and Sensorial Practice 

Niklas Hultin, George Mason University

11:20-11:40           Gun Possession and Gun Control: A Muddled Debate 

Charles E. Cobb Jr., Author of This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns made the Civil Rights Movement Possible 

11:40-12:00           Discussion/Concluding Remarks


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Category: Humanities Project Events