“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).[Published online on July 7, 2020] [Free to read at this link]

Abstract: In this wide-ranging conversation, historians David Serlin (UC San Diego) and Jennfier Tucker (Wesleyan University) discuss the role of material culture and visual media in shaping how museums communicate histories of science and technology. Tucker describes a recent public history project focused on 19th-century histories of firearms and gun regulation in light of contemporary debates about the Second Amendment ‘right to bear arms.’ Serlin and Tucker conclude by speculating about possible curatorial directions for a future public history exhibit focused on the social and cultural impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020.


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Jennifer Tucker is a historian who studies the interrelations of art and science, photography, and mass visual culture, with a specialization in 19th to mid-20th century British, U.S., and trans-Pacific history. The common threads in her diverse research fields are the dynamics of visual media in modern history, the nature of evidence, public perceptions and practices of history, and the interrelationships of science, technology, and the law.

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