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Panel Targets Gun Violence
Travis Vaughn Photography
Location: Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts
CHESTERTOWN, MD— A panel discussion Tuesday evening, February 24, at Washington College will take on one of the most controversial and consequential topics in American society today: the role of guns and gun violence in our culture.
The panel, set for 6:00 p.m. in Decker Theatre, Gibson Center for the Arts, was planned to expand the conversations being sparked by the Kohl Gallery exhibition “Gun Show” by sculptor David Hess. Panelists will include the artist, Coalition to Stop Gun Violence executive director Josh Horwitz, Maryland Institute College of Art professor of philosophy Firmin DeBrabander, and Washington College professor of political science Melissa Deckman. Christine Wade, an associate professor of political science and international studies at the College, will serve as moderator.
Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, has been a prominent voice behind the gun-violence prevention movement for two decades. A visiting scholar at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, he has testified before the U.S. Congress and worked on multiple issue campaigns aimed at curbing illegal gun ownership and gun deaths. He is co-author of Guns, Democracy, and the Insurrectionist Idea (University of Michigan Press, 2009) and blogs frequently about gun policy for the Huffington Post.
Firmin DeBrabander is associate professor of philosophy at Maryland Institute College of Art and author of the upcoming Do Guns Make us Free?, to be published this spring by Yale University Press. He has written for national publications on issues such as national security and what it means for us to be an “armed society.” In 2013, DeBrabander delivered a TEDxBaltimore talk on the impact of allowing guns on campuses and in classrooms.
Professor Melissa Deckman is chair of the Political Science Department at Washington College and author of the upcoming book Mama Grizzlies: Motherhood, Feminism, and the Tea Party in America, under contract with NYU Press. Her areas of research and study include the intersection of religion and politics, state and local politics, and women and politics. Deckman is a frequent guest of public affairs programs on Maryland’s public radio and television, and she has been cited in numerous publications, including in the New York Times, Pundifact and the Christian Science Monitor. She is an Affiliated Scholar with the Public Religion Research Institute, a nonprofit organization that researches the connections between religion, values, and public life.
Moderator Christine Wade is curator of the Louis L. Goldstein ’35 Program in Public Affairs, which is co-sponsoring the panel with the Kohl Gallery.
David Hess is an artist who works mostly with “rescued objects” he finds in cast-off materials such as old appliances and industrial machinery. Known mostly for his large-scale public artworks, including “Bird’s Nest” at the American Visionary Art Museum and “Momentum Study” at Baltimore Washington International Airport, Hess is a graduate of Dartmouth College, where he studied with sculptor Fumio Yoshimura. He created the 62 assault-weapon sculptures in “Gun Show” as a reaction to the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, hoping to provoke conversation about gun violence and its impact on American society. “We have come to accept gun violence as the cost of living in a country with almost as many guns as people,” he wrote in his artist statement for the exhibition.
Hess’s “Gun Show” will be on display at Kohl Gallery through March 6. The gallery, which is located on the ground floor of the College’s Gibson Center, is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. Both the gallery show and the Feb. 24 panel are free and open to the public.
–– Kaitlyn Fowler ’17