Caroline E. Light at Prince Books
Caroline E. Light
Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense
Author Presentation & Book Signing 7:00 PM
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
In 2005, Florida became the first state in the U.S. to pass a “stand-your-ground law,” allowing lethal self-defense outside the home. A 2016 study by JAMA Internal Medicine found that gun-related homicides went up 31.6 percent since the law went into effect. Since 2005, thirty-three states have adopted similar laws.
In Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense, Caroline Light, the Director of Undergraduate Studies in the Program of Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Harvard University, details the history and evolution of America’s stand-your- ground (SYG) gun culture. From these laws’ origins in 1604 through Reconstruction and up to the recent murder of Trayvon Martin, she argues that the concept of standing one’s ground is rooted in white, heterosexual male privilege. Light, raised in southwestern Virginia by hunting, skeet-shooting parents, analyzes the widespread reverence for “do–it–yourself (DIY) security citizenship,” the idea that lethal self-defense is a core responsibility of the ideal citizen who stands his or her ground in the face of perceived threats rather than retreating. “This book,” she writes, “represents one white southerner’s effort to excavate an uncomfortable past in the name of justice for our future.”
Caroline E. Light is director of undergraduate studies in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality at Harvard University. She is the author of That Pride of Race and Character: The Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South (NYU Press, 2014). She lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.