Collected Posts on Sociology of Guns Seminar

I was scheduled to teach Sociology of Religion in Fall 2020. When my current class 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 will be teaching the course for the 6th straight calendar.

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.

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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Sociology of Guns Student Field Trip to the Range, Year 6

As I noted earlier, I was scheduled to teach the Sociology of Religion this semester (fall 2020), but when students found out I was not going to teach my Sociology of Guns seminar they expressed considerable disappointment. So, I switched seminars and just starting my 6th straight year teaching the Sociology of Guns.

You can download a PDF of the current syllabus here. A collection of links to my previous posts on the seminar is available also.

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

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Teaching the Sociology of Guns, Year 6 Syllabus

I was scheduled to teach Sociology of Religion this semester (Fall 2020), but several students in the spring asked me to teach my Sociology of Guns seminar instead. So here I am, teaching the course for the 6th straight year.

Download a PDF of the current syllabus here. A collection of links to my previous posts on the seminar is available also.

Page from Sociology of Guns syllabus, fall 2020.

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Permission of Instructor Info for Sociology of Guns Seminar, Fall 2020

Most times I offer my Sociology of Guns seminar, I require students to obtain “permission of instructor” prior to enrolling. I do this for three main reasons.

First, many students (like many sociologists and some of the public) assume that “of guns” means “of gun violence and gun control.” I want them to be clear what they are in for.

Second, I do deal quite bluntly with issues of violence, injury, and death in the course, and not always coded negatively. Students with sensitivities to this are fairly warned.

Third, the field trip to a firearms education and safety class with optional range visit is an essential part of the course. Students need to know that if they can’t make it, they can’t take the class.

The full text of my Permission of Instructor Info form is below FYI.

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