Stand Your Ground:
A History of America's Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense
This event includes a book signing
February 16, 2017
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store welcomes Harvard University's director of undergraduate studies in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality CAROLINE LIGHT— author of That Pride of Race and Character—for a discussion of her latest book, Stand Your Ground: A History of America's Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense.
About Stand Your Ground
In the aftermath of the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, conservative legislators and school administrators shocked some observers when they proposed armed "public school patrols" to protect children. Yet this kind of "DIY security" activism predates the contemporary gun rights movement. As Caroline Light proves, support for “good guys with guns” relies on the entrenched belief that certain “bad guys with guns” threaten us all.
Stand Your Ground explores the development of the American right to “self-defense,” and reveals how the "duty to retreat" from threat was transformed into a selective right to kill. In her rigorous genealogy, Light traces white America’s attachment to racialized, lethal self-defense, from the original “castle laws” to the radicalization of the NRA.
A convincing treatise on the United States’ deadly ascension as the world’s first Stand Your Ground nation, Light shows how violent self-defense has been legalized for the most privileged and made the most marginalized more vulnerable.
"In this brilliant and timely history of 'the well-armed citizen,' Caroline Light reveals the logic—and lunacy—of the perceived reasonableness of lethal force in America, and the collective myth of the ideal, gun-toting savior against the threat of the ‘other.'" —Patricia Williams, Professor of Law at Columbia School of Law
"Caroline Light traces the history of self-defense in America from the early republic to the present, and reveals how gun use policies have consistently compromised the contours of our democracy. Paying careful attention to the roles of race and gender in structuring gun control politics, Light ultimately provides us with a profound reflection on belonging and exclusion in American society. Essential reading." —Elizabeth Hinton, award-winning author of From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
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