Schedule

Friday, October 27, 2017 

3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Registration
Beckham Hall 
Pick up your name tag and seminar agenda.

4:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Keynote Address
Memorial Chapel
Richard Slotkin, Olin Professor of American Studies, Emeritus, Wesleyan University, “Open Season: The Gun Rights Movement and American Political Culture.”

Introduction: Jennifer Tucker, Associate Professor of History and Science in Society at Wesleyan and organizer of this year’s Shasha Seminar.

Professor Slotkin is the author of an award-winning trilogy of scholarly books on the myth of the frontier in American cultural history: Regeneration Through Violence: The Mythology of the American Frontier, 1600–1860 (1973); The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800–1890 (1985), which received the Little Big Horn Associates Literary Award; and Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth-Century America (1992) a finalist for the 1993 National Book Award. He received the Mary C. Turpie Award of the American Studies Association (1995) for his contributions to teaching and program-building in American Studies.

Prof. Slotkin will discuss the current struggle over firearms legislation and how it has been shaped by a political movement which links a radical understanding of “gun rights” to the agendas of American conservatism. That movement has succeeded by drawing effectively on the historical traditions and social practices that have traditionally sanctioned interpersonal and vigilante violence in America.

Free and open to the public.

6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Reception and Art Exhibition Opening  
Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Art Gallery
Reception to mark the opening of the art exhibition, Up in Arms, a group show that explores historical and social issues surrounding the impact of guns in American culture.

6:15: Curator’s remarks by Susanne Slavick, artist, writer, and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon.

7:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 
Dinner (Registered Participants) 
Beckham Hall 

Welcoming remarks:

Michael S. Roth ’78, president of Wesleyan University.

Featured speaker: John Feinblatt ’73, president of Everytown for Gun Safety: "From Third Rail to Silver Lining: The Politics of Gun Safety."

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2017 

8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Registration
Beckham Hall
Pick up your name tag and seminar agenda.
 
8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Breakfast

Beckham Hall 
Light refreshments and coffee/tea.

9 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.
Panel 1: Firearms in Early U.S. History 
Daniel Family Commons

Kevin Sweeney, professor of history and American studies, emeritus, at Amherst College, on historical patterns in the possession of firearms for military and private uses in the cultures of early America from 1580 to 1810.

Donald E. Zilkha ’73, Wesleyan Trustee emeritus, founder of Zilkha Partners, LP, Chairman of Colt's Manufacturing Company from 1994 to 2013, on aspects of the gun business in Connecticut in the 19th century.

Pamela Haag, historian, independent scholar, author of The Gunning of America: Business and the Making of American Gun Culture (2016), on the commercialization of guns in America circa 1900.

Chair: Jeffers Lennox, assistant professor of history, Wesleyan University.

10:15 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.
Coffee Break
Daniel Family Commons Lounge

10:45 a.m. to noon
Panel 2: Gun Violence: Historical and Contemporary Trends
Daniel Family Commons

Matthew Miller, MD, professor of health sciences and epidemiology at Northeastern University, and associate director of health policy and injury prevention at the Harvard School of Public Health, will talk about firearms and suicide and the 2015 National Firearms Survey.

Randolph Roth, professor of history and sociology, Ohio State University, member of the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable of Crime Trends (2013–16), author of American Homicide (2009), will speak about the historical relationship between firearms and homicide in the U.S.

Nicholas Suplina ’00, Senior Advisor and Special Counsel at Office of the Attorney General of the State of New York, will share his work on a first-of-its-kind analysis that traces ‘crime guns’ recovered from law enforcement.

Chair: Crystal Feimster, associate professor of history, African-American studies, American studies, Yale University. 

Noon to 1 p.m.
Lunch
Beckham Hall

1:10 p.m. to 2:40 p.m.
Panel 3: Current Gun Policies
Daniel Family Commons

Scott Rohde, public safety director at Wesleyan. will speak about the university’s policy about weapons and safety.

Robert Wilcox ’01, director of priority federal campaigns for Everytown for Gun Safety, will discuss “Gun Laws and Legislation: What's Happening in Congress and State Capitols Across the Country.”

Patrick Charles, senior historian for U.S. Special Operations Command located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, and the author of a forthcoming book, Armed in America: A History of Gun Rights from Colonial Militias to Concealed Carry, will examine the history of arms regulations laws.

Gregory Dubinsky ’07, associate at Holwell Shuster & Goldberg and former law clerk to Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, will provide an overview of the Heller doctrine and how the Second Amendment doctrine has evolved in the lower courts.

Chair: Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history and Science in Society Program, Wesleyan University.

2:40 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Break
Daniel Family Commons Lounge

3 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Panel 4: Activism and Advocacy Around the Gun Debate
Daniel Family Commons

Mary Zeiss Stange, professor emerita of women’s studies and religion, Skidmore College, author and editor of works including Woman the Hunter (1997), Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America (2000), and Heart Shots: Women Write About Hunting (2003-05), will present a talk titled “'And Sam Colt Made Them Equal:' Radical Feminist and Queer Arguments for Gun-armed Self Defense.”

Carolyn Light, director of undergraduate studies in Harvard’s Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Program, and the author of the book, Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense (2017) will present, “Whose Castle? The Identity Politics of Armed Citizenship.”

Kristin A. Goss, professor of public policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, and the author of Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America (2006) and, with Phillip Cook, The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know (2014), will address “How Movements Get Moving: Gun Regulation Advocacy Then and Now.”

Chair: Anthony Hatch, associate professor of Science in Society, with faculty affiliations with the department of sociology and African American Studies Program, Wesleyan.

4:25 p.m. to 4:55 p.m.
Panel 5: Data-Dive Presentations by Wesleyan Students
Daniel Family Commons

Data-Dive Presentations by Wesleyan Students. Co-sponsored by the Quantitative Analysis Center and the Center for the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life.

Chair: Manolis Kaparakis, director of the Quantitative Analysis Center.

5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
Panel 6: Alumni Round Table: Looking Ahead
Daniel Family Commons

Matthew Lesser ’10, Middletown, State of Connecticut 100th District Representative.

Samuel (Sam) Levy ’04, legal counsel at Everytown for Gun Safety, with a focus on policy and state legislative work in the Northeast region.

Donald E. Zilkha ’73, Wesleyan Trustee emeritus, founder of Zilkha Partners, LP, Chairman of Colt's Manufacturing Company from 1994 to 2013.

Moderator: William D. Johnston, professor of history, Science in Society, and East Asian Studies Program, Wesleyan.

Alumni participation welcome.

For their support of this event we would like to thank the following Wesleyan organizers of this year’s Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns: The Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Office of Academic Affairs, the Quantitative Analysis Center, and the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Art Gallery.