Speakers

Key Note Speaker

  • Richard Slotkin

    Richard Slotkin is Olin Professor of American Studies (Emeritus) at Wesleyan University, where he taught from 1966 to 2008. He is best known for 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) was a Finalist for the 1974 National Book Award in History, and received the 1973 Albert J. Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association.

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    The Fatal Environment: The Myth of the Frontier in the Age of Industrialization, 1800-1890 (1985) received the Little Big Horn Associates Literary Award, and is a standard reference American Studies. Gunfighter Nation: The Myth of the Frontier in Twentieth Century America (1992) was a Finalist for the 1993 National Book Award.

    Other books include Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality (2005); No Quarter: The Battle of the Petersburg Crater, 1864 (2009); and Long Road to Antietam: How the Civil War Became a Revolution (2012). He has also written three historical novels. Abe (2000), which won the Shaara Prize for Civil War Fiction; The Return of Henry Starr (1988); and The Crater (1980).

    He received the Mary C. Turpie Award of the American Studies Association (1995), for his contributions to teaching and program-building in American Studies.

    He often serves as a consultant on violence in US history and culture, including “Colt: Legend and Legacy” (PBS/1998), "Big Guns Talk" (TNT, 1997), “Gunpower: One Nation Under Fire” (Discovery Channel, 1996), and “Guns” (ABC Turning Point, 1994); and interviews with CNN, ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings, and Fox Channel 61 and by Bill Moyers on “Moyers & Company.” 

  • Patrick Charles

    Patrick J. Charles is the author of the forthcoming book Armed in America: A History of Gun Rights from Colonial Militias to Concealed Carry as well as numerous other books and articles. His writings on the history of the Second Amendment have been cited by numerous Circuit Court of Appeals, and his book The Second Amendment: The Intent and Its Interpretation by the States and the Supreme Court was cited by Justice Stephen Breyer in the landmark Supreme Court decision McDonald v. City of Chicago.

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    Charles currently serves as a senior historian for United States Special Operations Command, located at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. In 2016 and 2014, Charles was awarded the Allan S. Major Award, and is the only two-time recipient of the award. The Major Award is given annually to recognize the top history program out of the over 170 wings and groups in the United States Air Force.
  • Greg Dubinsky '07

    Greg Dubinsky is an associate at Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP. Before entering private practice, Greg served as a law clerk to Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States in 2013-2014. He also clerked for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia and for Judge Gary S. Feinerman of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.

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    A graduate of Yale Law School, Greg was executive editor of the Yale Law Journal, a student director of the Yale Supreme Court Clinic, and articles editor of the Yale Journal of International Law. As part of the Yale Supreme Court Clinic, he helped draft merits briefs and petitions for writs of certiorari before the Supreme Court. Before law school, he was a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

    He received his B.A. from Wesleyan University, where he majored in government and history and served as editor-in-chief of the Wesleyan Argus. 

  • Crystal Feimster

    Crystal Feimster, Ph.D., Princeton University, 2000, is Assistant Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, and History at Yale University where she teaches courses on a number of topics including the history of racial and sexual violence. Currently, she is completing a project on rape during the American Civil War.

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    Her book, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching, focuses on two women journalists, Ida B. Wells, who campaigned against lynching, and Rebecca Latimer Felton, who urged white men to prove their manhood by lynching black men accused of raping white women. In 2016, she participated as a historical consultant at the  "Firearms and the Common Law" conference hosted by the Aspen Institute in Washington, D.C.
  • John Feinblatt '73

    John Feinblatt is the President of Everytown for Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. He is a senior advisor to former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and, in addition to his role at Everytown, has led the former mayor’s efforts on immigration reform, infrastructure investment, and marriage equality. 

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    During the twelve years of the Bloomberg administration, Mr. Feinblatt held the position of New York City’s Criminal Justice Coordinator and in 2010 was appointed the Mayor’s Chief Policy Advisor. Prior to joining City Hall, Mr. Feinblatt was the Founding Director of the Center for Court Innovation and the Founding Director of the Midtown Community Court.

    Mr. Feinblatt is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Columbus School of Law at Catholic University.  

  • Kristin A. Goss

    Kristin A. Goss is Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke. A political scientist, Goss conducts research on civic engagement and interest groups in American politics. She is the author of numerous articles and three books: The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know, with Philip J. Cook (2014); The Paradox of Gender Equality: How American Women’s Groups Gained and Lost Their Public Voice (2013); and Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America (2006).

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    Her recent work has centered on gender and guns, as well as on how elite donors influence policy reform. Goss received a B.A. degree with high honors from Harvard, a master’s degree in public policy from Duke, and a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard. She directs Duke’s semester-in-Washington program.

  • Pamela Haag

    Pamela Haag has has a Ph.D. in History from Yale, a BA from Swarthmore College and an MFA from Goucher College. She has published four books, the latest of which—The Gunning of America--reconsiders the history of the American gun culture from the perspective of the gun industry rather than the gun owner or the Constitutional issues surrounding gun ownership. Haag has published many essays and opinion pieces on a wide range of topics, from cultural commentary to history to memoir.

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    Other works have appeared in publications such as the American Scholar, NPR, the Christian Science Monitor, Slate, the Washington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Wall Street Journal, Salon and many others.  She has appeared, or her work has been discussed, on scores of programs and shows, including the Diane Rehm Show, CBS Sunday morning, the Today show, MSNBC, Booknotes, and many others.

  • Anthony Hatch

    Anthony Hatch, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Science in Society at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut where he also maintains faculty affiliations with the Department of Sociology and the African American Studies Program. He teaches courses at the intersection of science and technology studies, medical humanities, and political sociology.

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    Professor Hatch earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Maryland at College Park and an A.B. in philosophy at Dartmouth. He is the author of Blood Sugar: Racial Pharmacology and Food Justice in Black America published by the University of Minnesota Press in 2016. Professor Hatch is currently finishing a new book project about the political history of psychotropic drugs in American.

  • Jeffers Lennox

    Jeffers Lennox is assistant professor of history at Wesleyan University with a focus on early North America. His first book is Homelands and Empires: Indigenous Spaces, Imperial Fictions, and Competition for Territory in Northeastern North America, 1690-1763 (University of Toronto Press, 2017). His current book project, North of America: The Revolution, British Provinces, and Creating the United States, 1774-1815, examines Canada’s influence on Patriot ideology during the revolutionary era.  

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  • Matthew Lesser '10

    State Representative Matt Lesser is serving his fifth term in the Connecticut House of Representatives, representing the City of Middletown. In January, 2015 Speaker Sharkey appointed Rep. Lesser co-chair of the General Assembly’s Banking Committee. Lesser is also a member of the Government Administration and Elections Committee and a member of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.

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    He has been a principal author of a number of important laws, including Connecticut’s first in the nation Student Loan Bill of Rights, a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing waste and a major workplace safety law later adopted as a national standard.

    He has been a leader on consumer protections, the environment and paid family leave.

    Representative Lesser has championed Middletown’s interests in the legislature, significantly expanding funding for local roads and schools and securing millions of dollars to help rebuild Middletown’s waterfront.

    He has been honored for protecting consumers by the Connecticut chapter of AARP and has been named repeatedly as a champion by the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters. He has also been named “Children’s Champion” five times by the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance.

    In 2015, he served as a Marshall Memorial Fellow, a highly competitive international leadership and exchange program. He was named to the Democratic Party’s National Platform Committee in 2012.
    Matt attended Wesleyan University and lives in Middletown’s North End. He previously served on Middletown’s Planning and Zoning Commission.

  • Sam Levy '04

    Sam Levy is counsel at Everytown For Gun Safety, the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country. He primarily focuses on policy and state legislative work in the Northeast region, supporting common-sense gun legislation and fighting against policies that threaten public safety. Previously, Sam was an Assistant District Attorney at the New York County District Attorney’s office. He began his career in the Trial Division, where he prosecuted hundreds of cases, including domestic violence, homicide, and gun crime. 

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    He then moved to the Public Corruption Unit, where he conducted long-term investigations into alleged misconduct by elected officials and public servants. In that time, he secured a conviction after trial in a high profile wiretap investigation into bribes paid by attorneys in the Manhattan criminal courthouse. Sam graduated from Wesleyan in 2004 (BA, CSS) and from Brooklyn Law School in 2007. He lives in Astoria, New York with his wife, Amy. Both are staunch supporters of the Mets.

  • Caroline Light

    Caroline Light is the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Harvard’s Program in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She has a doctorate in history, and her work analyzes the ways in which race, gender, and region shape collective (mis)memory and archival silence. Her first book, That Pride of Race and Character: the Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South (NYU Press, 2014) explores how gendered and racialized performances of elite, white cultural capital served as a critical mode of survival for a racially liminal community of southerners.

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    Her recent book, Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense (Beacon Press, 2017) tracks the history of our nation’s relationship to lethal self-defense, from the duty to retreat to the “shoot first, ask questions later” ethos that prevails in many jurisdictions today.
  • Matthew Miller

    Matthew Miller is Professor of Health Sciences and Epidemiology at Northeastern University, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Co-Director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center. Dr Miller is an expert in injury, suicide, and violence prevention. By conceptualizing intentional violence as a preventable injury, Dr Miller’s scholarship attends to the nature of the agent of injury and the contextual aspects of the physical and social environment that can be modified to prevent death and reduce injury severity. In addition to empirical work in injury prevention, 

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    Dr. Miller’s scholarship includes work that focuses on the fundamental and often unrecognized tension between research and therapy in clinical trials. Dr. Miller is Assistant Editor of the journal Injury Epidemiology and a recipient of the Excellence in Science

  • Scott Rhode

    Scott Rohde has the Public Safety Director at Wesleyan University since October 2014.  Prior to coming to Wesleyan Scott was the Police Chief at UW- La Crosse in La Crosse WI for 16 years, before that he had 13 years’ experience in municipal policing serving suburban Madison, WI.  Scott has extensive experience in emergency planning, crisis response, incident management and recovery operations. He holds a B.S. degree in Criminal Justice from U.W.- Milwaukee and an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University.

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  • Michael Roth

    Michael S. Roth '78 became the 16th president of Wesleyan University in 2007, after having served as Hartley Burr Alexander Professor of Humanities at Scripps College, Associate Director of the Getty Research Institute, and President of the California College of the Arts. At Wesleyan, Roth has overseen the most successful fundraising campaign in its history – emphasizing financial aid – as well as the launch of such academic programs as the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life, the Shapiro Creative Writing Center, the College of the Environment, the College of Film and the Moving Image, the College of East Asian Studies and the College of Integrative Sciences. 

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    Author and curator (most notably of the exhibition “Sigmund Freud: Conflict and Culture,” which opened at the Library of Congress in 1998), Roth describes his scholarly interests as centered on “how people make sense of the past.” His fifth book, Memory, Trauma and History: Essays on Living with the Past was published in 2012. His most recent book, Beyond the University: Why Liberal Education Matters, is a stirring plea for the kind of education that has, since the founding of the nation, cultivated individual freedom, promulgated civic virtue, and instilled hope for the future. He regularly publishes essays, book reviews, and commentaries in the national media and scholarly journals. He continues to teach undergraduate courses and through Coursera has offered MOOCs, the most recent being “How to Change the World.”
  • Randolph Roth

    Randolph Roth is a professor of History and Sociology at Ohio State and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has served as a member of the National Academy of Sciences Roundtable of Crime Trends (2013-2016), which investigated the causes of the drop in crime rates across the affluent world since the 1970s, and as a member of the Board of Editors of the American Historical Review (2014-2017). 

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    He specializes in the history of the United States from colonial times to the present, with an emphasis on social and cultural history, the history of crime and violence, environmental history, the history of religion, the history of democracies, global history, quantitative methods, and social theory.

    Professor Roth is the author of American Homicide (The Belknap Press of the Harvard University Press, 2009), which received the 2011 Michael J. Hindelang Award from American Society of Criminology for the outstanding contribution to criminology over the previous three years, and the 2010 Allan Sharlin Memorial Prize from the Social Science History Association for an outstanding book in social science history. American Homicide was also named one of the Outstanding Academic Books of 2010 by Choice. The book is an interregional, internationally comparative study of homicide in the United States from colonial times to the present. It examines patterns of marital murder, romance murder, and other kinds of murder among adults in an effort to understand how and why the United States has become the world’s most homicidal affluent society. It argues that homicides rates in the United States and elsewhere in the Western world "are not determined by proximate causes such as poverty, drugs, unemployment, alcohol, race, or ethnicity, but by factors...like the feelings that people have toward their government, the degree to which they identify with members of their own communities, and the opportunities they have to earn respect without resorting to violence."

  • Susanne Slavick

    Susanne Slavick is an artist, curator, writer and Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon. Over the last decade, she has exhibited at the Chicago Cultural Center, McDonough Museum in Youngstown, Accola Griefen Gallery in New York, and Princeton University’s Bernstein Gallery. Her touring curatorial projects include: Unloaded and Up in Arms, group shows that explore historical and social issues surrounding the impact of guns in American culture; and Out of Rubble (Charta 2011), featuring international artists who respond to the aftermath of war.

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    Slavick studied at Yale University, Jagiellonian University in Krakow, and Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Rome and Philadelphia. Awards include a fellowship from the NEA and four awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.  She has contributed to various publications including Cultural Heritage and Arts Review; Cultural Politics; Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies; and Guernica: A Magazine of Art & Politics

  • Mary Stange

    Mary Zeiss Stange, Ph.D. is a Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies and Religion, Skidmore College. Mary Zeiss Stange was for 26 years on the faculty of Skidmore College, where she directed and developed both the Women’s Studies and Religious Studies programs. She specializes in writing and speaking about women, guns, hunting and ecofeminism.

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    She is the author or editor of numerous books and articles on these subjects, key among them: Woman the Hunter (Beacon Press, 1997), Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America (New York University Press, 2000), Heart Shots: Women Write about Hunting and the “Sisters of the Hunt” series of reprints of women’s outdoor writing (Stackpole Books, 2003-2005), and “From Domestic Terrorism to Armed Revolution: Women’s Right to Self-defense as an Essential Human Right” (Journal of Law, Economics & Policy,2006). She serves on the Board of Orion: The Hunter’s Institute, and is an Expert Member of the U.S. Delegation of the International Council on Game and Wildlife Conservation (CIC) and Vice-President of CIC’s Artemis Working Group on women’s hunting.

  • Nicholas O. Suplina '00

    Nicholas O. Suplina serves as Senior Advisor and Special Counsel in the Office of the New York State Attorney General where he formulates legal, policy, and communications strategies. A practiced civil and criminal attorney, Nick joined the executive team from the criminal division in 2013 to generate and implement creative initiatives to improve the lives of New Yorkers, especially in the areas of criminal justice policy, technology, and government integrity. 

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    He has been twice awarded the Louis Lefkowitz Achievement award for outstanding legal service, and won the Innovation in Law Enforcement award for his project using gun trace data to combat interstate gun trafficking.

    Prior to joining the AG’s office in 2011, Nick practiced in the litigation department of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, where he represented private and pro bono clients. He joined the firm from a clerkship in the District Court for the Southern District of New York. 

  • Kevin Sweeney

    Kevin Sweeney is Professor emeritus of History and American Studies at Amherst College, where he taught from 1989 to 2016. He majored in history at Williams College and obtained his doctorate in history from Yale University. From 1980 to 1984 he was Administrator-Curator of the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum in Wethersfield, Connecticut; he worked at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware from 1985-1986; and he served as Director of Academic Programs at Historic Deerfield from 1986 to 1989.

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    With  Evan Haefeli, he co-authored Captors and Captives: The 1704 French and Indian Raid on Deerfield, which received the 2003 Book Prize of the New England Historical Association, and co-edited, Captive Histories: English, French, and Native Narratives of the 1704 Deerfield Raid. He is currently working on a book project on guns in the cultures of early America from 1580 to 1810. 

  • Robert Wilcox '01

    Robert B. Wilcox. Jr. directs priority federal campaigns for Everytown for Gun Safety.  Everytown is the largest gun violence prevention organization in the country with more than three million supporters, including moms, mayors, survivors, and everyday Americans who are all fighting for public safety measures that respect the Second Amendment and help save lives. 

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    At Everytown, Mr. Wilcox has directed a number of high profile state and federal legislative campaigns, and he is currently leading the campaign to defeat the gun lobby's top legislative priority, "Concealed Carry Reciprocity," which is a policy that would force one state to recognize the concealed carry standards of every other state, even when some state's standards are so weak they do not require basic gun safety training or screen for red flags like convictions for crimes of violence or domestic abuse.