Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar

I was scheduled to teach Sociology of Religion in Fall 2020. When the class I was teaching in Spring 2020 found this out they expressed considerable disappointment that I wouldn’t be teaching my Sociology of Guns seminar. So I made a last minute change and did teach the course for the 6th straight calendar, and will be teaching the course again in Fall of 2021 for the 7th year in a row (syllabus under construction).

A link to the most recent syllabus (from Fall 2020, taught online) is available HERE and a PDF of the syllabus from the previous course is HERE.

I have posted a number of times on this blog and my older Gun Culture 2.0 blog about this seminar I have been teaching in the Department of Sociology at Wake Forest University since 2015. This entry collects as many earlier posts as possible — from both blogs — including many written by students in the class.

Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #8: I Recognize the Topic is Much More Nuanced

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the eighth and final of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh essays.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #7: Guns are as Complex as Any Other Issue

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the seventh of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth essays.)

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #6: I Completely Stripped Down My Stance

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the sixth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, third, fourth, and fifth essays.)

Sociology of Guns student range visit. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #5: Education Really Does Have the Power to Change Lives

I learn something every semester from each of my students, but one student’s work this semester was more of a revelation to me. Bevin Burns drew on her experience promoting sexual health and education on college campuses to highlight some potential negative consequences of adopting an abstinence-based approach to gun safety education.

This really resonated with me because I have noted the two different approaches to gun safety: safety WITH guns vs. safety FROM guns. The #gunsafety and #gunsense movement is really promoting the gun equivalent to “abstinence only” sex education, and we know how well that worked over the years.

Sociology of Guns student at range. Photo by Robin Lindner/RLI Media
Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #4: Gun Ownership Cannot Be Reduced to One Type of Individual

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the fourth of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first, second, and third essays.)

Sociology of Guns student shooting at range. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #3: Confusion and Annoyance as an Opportunity to Learn

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the third of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Link to first and second essays.)

Sociology of Guns student range trip. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #2: A Good Way to Start Bridging the Divide

As noted earlier, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the second of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here. (Like to first essay.)

Sociology of Guns student range trip. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
Continue reading

Sociology of Guns Seminar Student Final Reflection #1: Changing Demographics and Changing Opinions

As noted yesterday, the final assignment of the semester in my Sociology of Guns seminar is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course (full text of the assignment is here).

Here is the first of several such essays, written by a student whose initial reflections on our field trip to the gun range can be found here.

Sociology of Guns student range trip. Photo by Sandra Stroud Yamane
Continue reading

Wrapping Up Sociology of Guns, 6th Edition (Fall 2020)

The sixth iteration of my Sociology of Guns seminar at Wake Forest University is in the books. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it was (still) a pleasure to teach this course. (You can read much more about previous editions of the course here.)

The final assignment for the course is for the students to write an essay reflecting on their personal experience with and understanding of guns in light of what they learned in the course. Specifically:

In this final essay, you will revisit your previous personal experience with and understanding of guns in the U.S. (as expressed, e.g., in the field trip reflection essay) in light of your consideration of the role guns actually do play in American society. Reflecting on what you learned from completing your major writing assignment, as well as the class more generally, discuss how your mind has (and/or has not) changed. Conclude this paper by considering what more you need to know in order to make informed choices about your own participation with and the place of guns in the communities in which you live and will live in the future.

Over the next several days, I will be posting some of these final reflection essays, so stay tuned. (Also, read more below.)

Screen cap of Zoom session with Tiffany Johnson of Citizens Safety Academy
Continue reading