Historical context is essential to understanding the centrality of guns in contemporary American society and their place at the center of heated debate. My research examines a wide variety of topics in firearms history, such as the technologies, manufacture, possession, and use of firearms; the history of guns in popular visual culture, public history, and museums; the co-production of guns and cameras; gender, class & racial factors; and the arguments over the “true” or “authentic” history of guns in law, mass entertainment, and “Old West” shooting competitions.
Academic Awards and Research Fellowships
Media Interviews and Opinion
Talks and Invited Lectures
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation “Humanities for All Times” Awards $1,064,500 to Wesleyan University for its “Carceral Connecticut Project,” Exploring the Past and Contemporary Resonances of Slavery, Race, and Industrialization in New England
- Creative Campus Initiative Award
- Tucker, co-edited with Margaret Vining and Barton Hacker, A Right to Bear Arms? The Contested Role of History in Contemporary Debates on the Second Amendment (Washington, D.C: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press and Penguin Books, 2019).
- Miller, D.H. and J. Tucker, “Common Use, Lineage, and Lethality,” UC Davis Law Review 55/5 (2022), 101–119.
- “The Queen’s Mark: Guns, Photography, and the Visual Abstraction of Precision,” Victorian Review 48:1 (Spring 2022).
- “Guns, Germs, and Public History: A Conversation with Jennifer Tucker,” Interview by David Serlin, in Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences 57 (1) Special Issue: Going Public: Mobilizing, Materializing, and Contesting Social Science History, ed. Alexandra Rutherford (Winter 2021).
- “Display of Arms: A Roundtable Discussion about the Public Exhibition of Firearms and Their History,” Technology and Culture, Vol. 59, Issue 3 (July 2018): 719-769.
Works (Articles & Book Chapters) in Progress
- The Conversation: Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Assassins’ Lays Bare the Bizarre Role of Guns in American Culture December 7, 2021
- The Conversation: Why Are Medieval Weapons Laws at the Center of a US Supreme Court Case? November 5, 2021
- CNN Opinion: Now that guns can kill hundreds in minutes, Supreme Court should rethink the rights question October 20, 2021
- The Washington Post: How the NRA Hijacked History September 9, 2019
- Wyoming Public Media: Renovated Firearms Museum Wants to Add Context to Gun History June 28, 2019
- Connecticut Public: Responding to the Mass Shooting in Las Vegas October 2, 2017
- Boston Globe: What the Clean Air Act Can Teach Us About Reducing Gun Violence October 6, 2015
- Connecticut Public: The Scramble: Changing the Gun Conversation October 5, 2015
- Inside Sources: The Not-So-Wild West September 21, 2015
- Exhibition script reader for 2019 Cody Firearms Museum renovation, Buffalo Bill Center of the American West, Cody, Wyoming, Spring 2019.
- Advisor to Up in Arms, Cecile and Ezra Zilkha Gallery of Contemporary Art, October, 2017.
- “”A Gun is a Gun?’ The Neglect of Innovation in U.S. Firearms Law,” Innovation Law and Policy Workshop, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, Nov. 30, 2021.
- Panelist: “Quantifying the Lethality Rates of Firearms in Historical Terms,” Symposium on “The 2nd Amendment at the Supreme Court: ‘700 Years of History’ and the Modern Effects of Guns in Public,” hosted by the UC Davis Law Review & UC Davis School of Law, Davis, CA, October 1, 2021. Discussed in Darrell Miller, “New Research from the UC Davis Symposium,” Oct. 22, 2021.
- Keynote, “The Business of Photography” at conference, Photographic History Research Centre, DeMontfort University (UK), “Arming Society with Cameras: The Interlocked Histories of Photography and Gun Manufacture and Mass Advertisement” (June 17–19, 2019).
- Public Speaker, History and Theory of Photography Research Centre, Birkbeck College, University of London: “Load, Point, and Shoot: Guns and Cameras and the Black Boxes of History” (March 26, 2019).
- Speaker, Centre for Museum Cultures, Birkbeck College, University of London, “Exhibiting History of Firearms in Museums: UK v. US Perspectives” (March 25, 2019).
- Keynote, “Arsenals of History” conference, Cody Firearms Museum, Buffalo Bill Museum, Cody, Wyoming: “Exhibiting History of Firearms in Museums”, May 21-23, 2018).
- Guns in History, American Historical Association Annual meeting (January 3, 2020).
- Shasha Seminar, “Guns and American Society,” Wesleyan University, Oct. 27-28, 2017. A two-day seminar convened national experts including Wesleyan alumni, from different fields to examine the contemporary state of guns in American history, society, law, museums, and politics.
- Firearms and the Common Law Tradition, The Aspen Institute (September 14–15, 2016).
- Panelist, Oxford University: Historians’ Roundtable: British, Irish, and American History and Second Amendment Adjudication, Pembroke College, University of Oxford (July 9, 2019).
- Chair, National Council on Public History annual meeting, “Interpreting Firearms in Museums in the 21st Century” (March 27-30, 2019).
- Signatory, Brief for Amici Curiae Professors of History and Law in Support of Respondents in the Supreme Court of the United States, New York State Rifle and Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, No. 20-843. Sept. 20, 2021. One of seventeen English and American history and law professors who wrote that Anglo-American history does not support an unrestricted right to carry firearms in public in the broad interest of self-defense, and that the historical record plainly demonstrates “a long Anglo- American tradition of broad restrictions on carrying dangerous weapons in public.”
Internal Research Grants & Fellowships
- Teaching & Pedagogy Grant ($2400): New Intro course “‘To Keep and to Bear’: An Intro to Gun Culture in the U.S.” (200 level intro course + . 25 credit lab) (offered Fall 2022).
Campus & Departmental Talks
- “Brandishing Weapons: History & Popular Culture in America’s Gun Debate.” Talk for Wesleyan History Department, “Issues in Contemporary Historiography” (September 16, 2021).
- Lecture, “Uses and Abuses of History in Today’s Debate over Guns,” presentation to History majors in “Issues in Contemporary Historiography” methods course (September 14, 2019).
- Presented, with Anthony Hatch, “Racism, Technology, and Social Protest,” a community dialogue to foster group discussion about the historical transformation of social and political contexts in which people use visual technologies to analyze and challenge racism (December 5, 2015).
- Organized Connecticut public forum, “Guns and Gun Violence: Crisis, Policy, and Politics.” Moderated by Connecticut’s public radio (WNPR) News Director, John Dankosky (February 6, 2013).
Undergraduate Courses Taught at Wesleyan
- Faculty Advisor, Wesleyan Media Project (WMP), “Guns in Campaign Ads During 2017-2018.”