Netherlands American Studies Association

Jennifer Carlson: Democracy by Bullet?

On March 28, 2024, the John Adams Institute is organizing a talk with Jennifer Carlson, Associate Professor of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. 

In Merchants of the Right: Gun Sellers and the Crisis of American Democracy, Jennifer Carlson’s warning is clear: armed conservatives are working toward a democracy not of the ballot, but of the bullet. But these dynamics go beyond the political divide that courses through American society. That’s because guns and politics mix in unpredictable ways, regardless of the party gun sellers and purchasers support. Red or Blue, guns bring uncertainty into neighborhoods and fear into schools, and Americans are arming themselves more than ever before.

Drawing on a wealth of interviews conducted with gun sellers across the United States, Carlson presents a view of gun sales and ownership through the lens of 2020-21: the political unrest leading up to January 6th, pandemic insecurities and the resulting dramatic increase in gun sales—not just to existing conservative gun owners, but to new gun owners from every demographic background. Carlson’s social analysis presents a nuanced portrait of the relationship between conservative gun culture, armed individualism, conspiracism, partisanship and the knife’s edge American democracy teeters on.

Jennifer Carlson is an Associate Professor of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona. She teaches courses on guns, rights, law and justice, and was awarded a MacArthur Genius grant for her research on such topics in 2022.

Date: March 28, 2024

Time: 20:00-22:00

Location: Pakhuis De Zwijger, Piet Heinkade 179, Amsterdam

For more information about this event, including where to buy tickets, click here.