Although the laws appear to apply to all law-abiding citizens, research shows that they are not equitably enforced, and that they may be emboldening property owners to shoot first and question their actions later, even when there is no real threat of harm.
Author Archives: Caroline Light/Harvard University
Caroline Light is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in WGS. Her research explores histories of citizenship and belonging, and the ways in which white supremacy, (hetero)sexism, and classism shape collective (mis)memory and archival silence. Light's first book, That Pride of Race and Character: the Roots of Jewish Benevolence in the Jim Crow South (NYU Press, 2014) illuminates the experience of southern Jewish assimilation through the lens of benevolent uplift. She illuminates the gendered and racialized performances of elite, white cultural capital as a critical mode of survival for a racially liminal community of southerners. Stand Your Ground: A History of America’s Love Affair with Lethal Self-Defense (Beacon Press, 2017) provides a critical genealogy of our nation’s ideals of armed citizenship. Beginning with the centuries-old adage “a man’s home is his castle,” she tracks the history of our nation’s relationship to lethal self-defense, from the duty to retreat to the “shoot first, ask questions later” ethos that prevails in many jurisdictions today. Ultimately, she contends that the contemporary appeal to “stand your ground” masks its exclusionary commitment to security for the few at the expense of the many.