• Tucker Interviewed on Brady Podcast
    Jennifer Tucker was recently interviewed on the Brady podcast in an episode titled, “The Rising Lethality of the Second Amendment.” Tucker describes her early introduction to guns in popular culture and how she came to study guns as a historian, leading to the establishment of the Center for the Study … Read more
  • The Conversation: Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Assassins’ Lays Bare the Bizarre Role of Guns in American Culture
    Long before the numbing regularity of school shootings, the Kyle Rittenhouse trial and the current Supreme Court debate over whether to further relax gun laws, composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim was sounding the alarm about the role of guns in American culture. Sondheim, who died on Nov. 26, 2021, had … Read more
  • The Conversation: Why Are Medieval Weapons Laws at the Center of a US Supreme Court Case?
    In the opening scene of “The Last Duel,” the new film set in 14th-century France, a herald announces the rules for conduct at a tournament to the death. He declares that no members of the public – whatever their social background – are allowed to bring weapons to the event. … Read more
  • CNN Opinion: Now that guns can kill hundreds in minutes, Supreme Court should rethink the rights question
    As the U.S. Supreme Court considers a case that may result in vastly expanded rights to carry firearms in public, I argue in this op-ed that we need a “common vocabulary and a shared metric for quantifying the lethality of firearms in historical terms when approaching Second Amendment policy and … Read more
  • Jobsolete podcast: Wax Worker
    Wax figures have been around for centuries and were very popular around the western world prior to mass media. I was interviewed on the Jobsolete podcast (iHeartRadio) about the wax sculptors who brought celebrities and others to life. “Wax was used over the centuries… for death masks, for making wax … Read more
  • Jobsolete podcast: Aeronauts
    In the 18th century, “balloon mania” swept across Europe, encouraged by the circulation of writings, lithographs, balloon fashion, and memorabilia. I spoke on the Jobsolete podcast about aeronauts—the adventurers, entertainers, and self-trained scientists who built and flew balloons.
  • The New York Times: The Mug Shot, a Crime Story Staple, Is Dropped by Some Newsrooms and Police
    I was interviewed by The New York Times about a trend among some police departments and news outlets to end the practice of releasing and publicizing mug shots of people accused of crimes, absent an immediate public safety reason to do so. I discussed how these mug shots have been … Read more
  • Artnet News: How the National Archives’ Notorious Alteration of a Women’s March Photo is Part of a Long American Tradition
    In this opinion piece co-authored with Peter Rutland, I reflect on the National Archives’ censoring of the messages on protest signs in a photo taken at the Women’s March in January 2017. This action was swiftly and universally condemned by professional historians and curators. It both transpired in our era … Read more
  • The Conversation: From Their Balloons, the First Aeronauts Transformed Our View of the World
    Near the beginning of the film “The Aeronauts,” a giant gas-filled balloon called the “Mammoth” departs from London’s Vauxhall Gardens and ascends into the clouds, revealing a bird’s eye view of London. To some moviegoers, these breathtaking views might seem like nothing special: Modern air travel has made many of … Read more
  • The Washington Post: How the NRA Hijacked History
    Amid renewed national debate over gun control, I write in The Washington Post about how concerted advocacy from groups such as the National Rifle Association has popularized a new interpretation of American history to fit a modern gun rights narrative, threatening to lead the Supreme Court further astray as it … Read more
  • Wyoming Public Media: Renovated Firearms Museum Wants to Add Context to Gun History
    I was interviewed on Wyoming Public Media about the opening of the newly renovated Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which tells the story of the role of firearms in American culture. I was among the academic historians enlisted by the museum to provide important … Read more
  • The Conversation: In ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ an Ode to the Gas Lamp
    “Mary Poppins Returns” transports audiences back to 1930s London. The beloved nanny at the center of the original 1964 hit film will return, this time played by Emily Blunt. But Mary’s original companion, Bert, a chimney sweep played by Dick Van Dyke, has been replaced by Jack, a lamplighter played … Read more
  • History News Network: It’s No Downton Abby, But It’s Just as Much a Part of English History
    In connection with a Royal visit to Widnes, in Cheshire, in the north west of Britain, to unveil the new Gateway bridge across the River Mersey, I reflect in History News Network about the history of the region’s chemical industry and efforts to curb industrial pollution. In the 1870s, it … Read more
  • The New York Times: Do You Know What Lightning Really Looks Like?
    I was quoted in a The New York Times story comparing artistic renderings of lightening with actual photographs of the dramatic weather phenomena. Offering context, I told the Times that the new work fits into a long history of scientists drawing a boundary between artistic and photographic representations of lightning … Read more
  • History News Network: Tabloid Photographers Are Hounding the Royals, But They Have a History of Using Each Other
    Ahead of a royal wedding and all the accompanying tabloid coverage, I reflect on how the public’s relationship with the monarchy has been transformed dramatically by the invention of photography, dating back to the early 19th century and the reign of Queen Victoria. I show how “Long before the digital … Read more
  • Hartford Courant: President Trump Takes Page From P.T. Barnum’s Book
    In this op-ed, I examine similarities between President Donald Trump and P.T. Barnum (1810-1891), both entertainment moguls and public figures, as well as icons of populism, capitalism, and democracy. As Barnum biographer Terence Whalen notes, he “inflicted himself upon a surprisingly willing public in a wide variety of roles” and … Read more
  • Connecticut Public: Responding to the Mass Shooting in Las Vegas
    I was part of a panel discussion around guns and gun control following the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history at a music festival in Las Vegas. Listen to the discussion on Connecticut Public.
  • VICE: Why Victorian Women Turned to Pseudoscience to Try to Understand Love
    The 19th century Victorian obsession with a variety of pseudosciences extended to the study of love, sex, and romance. “One of the great myths about the Victorian age [was] that it was sexually repressive; on the contrary, Victorian society was obsessed with sexual reform, heterosexual and homosexual love, lust, and … Read more
  • Visual Ecologies
    In this essay for the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s “Seeing Science: Photography, Science, and Visual Culture,” I examine how images of the environment “serve as both as catalyst and as a mode of understanding. Visual portrayals help shape the context in which a politics takes place, and are often … Read more
  • Inside Sources: We Don’t Know About Trump’s Taxes…But We Do Know About His Waxes
    In Inside Sources, I write about Donald Trump’s inauguration into not only the presidency, but the assembly of wax figures at Madame Tussauds Museum in London. Wax is a strange medium—both real and unreal, and with a long history since ancient times of representing life and death, truth and deception. … Read more
  • Boston Globe: What the Clean Air Act Can Teach Us About Reducing Gun Violence
    In this op-ed co-authored with Matthew Miller, I highlight the astonishing reality that while our country closely regulates the impact of automobiles on public health and safety, it does not do so for firearms. Why? In 2005, Congress passed an unprecedented law that largely exempts guns from federal consumer-safety laws, … Read more
  • Connecticut Public: The Scramble: Changing the Gun Conversation
    Following a school shooting in Oregon, I was interviewed on Connecticut Public why guns are not regulated as consumer products like any other that poses a threat to human health. “Our nation’s lax attitude toward gun proliferation is partly the result of a Hollywood version of gun technology…[Specifically, the notion … Read more
  • Inside Sources: The Not-So-Wild West
    In this op-ed, I debunk the conventional picture of the Wild West as a place with rampant gun violence. Contrary to its name, the Wild West was the setting for the passage of some of the nation’s first gun-control laws. In 19th-century frontier towns, people couldn’t just walk around with … Read more
  • BBC Radio 3: The Essay: The Tichborne Claimant
    I was featured on a BBC program titled, “The Tichborne Claimant: The Five Photographs that (You Didn’t Know) Changed Everything” in which I discussed how a seemingly mundane photograph can have a lasting and powerful historical impact. I told the story of one such photograph taken in 1865 that changed … Read more
  • The Moscow Times: Can Culture Transcend Russia-West Conflict?
    In an essay co-authored with Aria Danaparamita, I write about the decision by the British Museum to lend Russia one of the most esteemed vestiges of Western art and civilization: the Parthenon marbles. We explore the long-standing role of art in cross-cultural negotiations and political dialogue. Read more in The … Read more
  • Boston Globe: How Facial Recognition Technology Came to Be
    I write about the FBI’s use of state-of-the-art facial recognition technology in its Next Generation Identification System, the world’s biggest biometric database. The new system has come under fire from privacy rights advocates who fear that federal databases will eventually be cross-referenced against other data, connecting faces to medical, financial, … Read more
  • Boston Globe: What Our Most Famous Evolutionary Cartoon Gets Wrong
    Writing in the Boston Globe’s Sunday Ideas section, I examine the strange and extraordinary history of the iconic “monkey-to-man” evolution illustration—one of the most intriguing and misleading drawings in the modern history of science. Though the image fails to accurately illustrate Darwinian evolutionary theory, it has been hugely successful as … Read more
  • The Wall Street Journal: The Mars Curiosity Rover and the Long Search for ET
    The question of whether life could be detected on other bodies in the universe is among the oldest and most enduring, and one of the first questions to which the telescope was applied when it was invented around 1608. In this op-ed, I write about the great thinkers over the … Read more
  • The New York Times: The Medieval Roots of Todd Akin’s Theories
    In this op-ed, I discuss the roots in medieval science of Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin’s misguided assertion that the female body will try to “shut that whole thing down” in the case of “legitimate rape.” I examine different views of reproduction from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. … Read more