Guns and Society

Analyzing Gun Violence in the US from a Social Science Lens

During this 1-week course, students will learn how different social science disciplines analyze and develop solutions to social problems.  In addition to public health approaches, students will draw on historical, cultural, and legal frameworks to understand the social and legal history of guns in the U.S. with a focus on how laws and policies embedded guns in the U.S. imaginary and why guns are often important markers of identity. We will also analyze how diverse communities experience, respond to, and work to prevent gun violence.

In this class:

  • Students will learn to use online tools to identify types of gun violence experienced across diverse communities.
  • Students will understand how to approach social problems intersectionally by examining the relationship between race, class, and gender and guns and gun violence.
  • Students will be able to understand links between the criminal justice system and gun violence, including officer involved shootings as well as how mass incarceration of people of color, especially African Americans, leads to more gun violence.
  • Students can identify various disciplinary approaches to addressing social problems at different levels of analysis. These will include individual- and interpersonal-level approaches which focus on fixing troubled individuals, structural approaches aimed at helping communities address the underlying causes of gun violence, and legal and policy solutions aimed at addressing gun violence.


Mary Bernstein is professor of sociology at the University of Connecticut.  She publishes broadly in the fields of social movements, politics, race, gender, and law with a focus on LGBTQ social movements and on gun violence prevention advocacy. She has received several national grants and awards for her research.  She has co-edited three books, and her articles appear in numerous journals.  Professor Bernstein is a member of the Regional Gun Violence Research Consortium at the Rockefeller Institute of Government and is co-director of the Gun Violence Prevention Research Interest Group at UConn, sponsored by the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP). 

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At a Glance:

Sessions Offered:

  • Session 4: July 19th - July 25th

Location: UConn Storrs

Supplemental Course Fee: $40.00

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