I stepped out of the social media fray for a few days this past weekend to commemorate the moment when my wife Sandy and I committed our lives to each other at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC in 2013.
But I didn’t stop working on my book, provisionally titled Gun Culture 2.0: Inside America’s Evolving Culture of Firearms. On the long drive from Winston-Salem to Washington and back, and during quiet moments at our hotel, I worked on my author query letter, book proposal, and the first four chapters of the book.
This week I will be sending a query letter to 6-8 agents along with the proposal and sample chapters to try to get literary representation for the project. The literary agent will then try to sell the book to a publisher.
For the past 18 months, I have been co-editing, with Trent Steidley of the University of Denver, a special issue of the scholarly journal, Sociological Perspectives. The theme is “A Sociology of Firearms for the 21st Century.”
A major goal we had in soliciting and selecting articles for the special issue was to expand the narrow sociological literature by appreciating the multifaceted role guns play in society and culture beyond crime, deviance, and injury. This is the sort of project I called for in my original “Sociology of U.S. Gun Culture” article.
The printed edition of the journal will be available later this year, but the articles are being posted online once they are finalized. One that I am particularly proud to have had an editorial hand in is “Queers with Guns? Against the LGBT Grain” by University of Texas graduate student Thatcher Combs.
In all the years I have taught the Sociology of Guns (since 2015), I have not been able to assign a peer-reviewed sociological study of LGBT gun owners. I typically assign Rolling Stone’s story on the Pink Pistols and tell the students that some day a sociologist will give their attention to this important topic.
I am preparing my syllabus for this fall’s Version 7 of Sociology of Guns and am happy to have Thatcher Combs’s work to assign at last.
Unfortunately, chapters in edited scholarly books are where ideas go to die. As one scholar put it: “Quite simply, if you write a chapter for an edited book, you might as well write the paper and then bury it in a hole in the ground.”