Caroline Light

Caroline Light

Director of Undergraduate Studies; Senior Lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
caroline light

Caroline Light is a Senior Lecturer and the Director of Undergraduate Studies in Studies of Women, Gender and Sexuality. Her research explores histories of citizenship and belonging, and the ways in which white supremacy, (hetero)sexism, and classism shape collective 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) explores the experience of southern Jewish assimilation through the lens of benevolent uplift. 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 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 armed self-defense masks its exclusionary commitment to security for the few at the expense of the many. To learn more about Light’s current research, visit her HPHR blog, In The Crosshairs: On Gender, Race, and Firearm Violence.

Courses Taught in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
  • GENED 1073 Guns in the U.S.: A Love Story
  • WOMGEN 97 Sophomore Tutorial
  • WOMGEN 1200 Feminism in Historical Contexts
  • WOMGEN 1238 Consuming Passions
  • WOMGEN 1283 Love's Labors Found: Uncovering Histories of Emotional Labor
  • WOMGEN 1424 American Fetish: Consumer Culture Encounters the Other
  • WOMGEN 2040 The Secret Sex Life of Anthropological Objects
  • US-WORLD 26 Sex and the Citizen: Race, Gender, and Belonging in the United States

Contact Information

Boylston Hall G32
5 Harvard Yard
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: (617) 495-1964