Caroline Light

Caroline Light

Director of Undergraduate Studies
Senior Lecturer on Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
photo of Caroline Light

Caroline Light has served as WGS Director of Studies since 2008. Prior to her arrival at Harvard, she worked at Duke University, where she taught courses in Gender and Sexuality Studies, First Year Writing, and in the Global Americas Focus Program. Her research explores the ways in which race, gender, and region have shaped 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 outreach to reveal how gendered and racialized performances of elite, white cultural capital served as a critical mode of survival for a racially liminal community of southerners. Her recent book, 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.

Courses Taught in Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
GENED 1073 Guns in the U.S.: A Love Story
WOMGEN 96-ABL Off the Page and Into the World: Feminist Praxis in the Community
WOMGEN 97 Sophomore Tutorial
WOMGEN 98 Junior 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