Fellows' Forum - An American Powder Keg: Gun Culture and its Political Ammunition

The polemic of gun ownership in the United States extends beyond a narrative on firearms and violence. States, like Virginia, which allow for licensed gun owners to openly carry firearms, introduce further complexities. Among such challenges are the presence of county militias that factor as community watchdogs and active advocates for the right to bear arms, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment. At a time when gun violence continues to ravage Americans, how and why do county militias insist on de jure gun ownership?

Morwari Zafar will discuss the organizing principles that shape gun rights activism in the United States. Drawing on a year of ethnographic fieldwork among county militias in Virginia, she will share observations about the meaning and social value of guns, as well as their intersection with contemporary American politics and social change.