Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Jen Carlson ’00

Update: An Interview With Dr. Jen Carlson

Jennifer Carlson attended the Indiana Academy from 1998 to 2000. Her time at the Academy was one of the most transformative academic experiences of her life, and the lessons she learned from Mr. Stuart, Mr. Rajca, Ms. Foltz, Mrs. Haynes and Ms. Cunningham have had a profound effect in shaping her life post-Academy.

After graduating from the Indiana Academy in 2000, Jennifer attended Dartmouth College, where she double majored in Mathematics and Sociology and graduated summa cum laude in 2004. After gaining exposure to sociological research through her senior thesis on death penalty politics in Texas, she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in sociology at University of California, Berkeley. She received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to support her graduate work in 2005, and pursued research on gender, conservative politics, policing and crime. Her dissertation focused on American gun politics, which she completed in 2013.

Dr. Carlson is a Professor of Sociology at Arizona State University, and a MacArthur Fellow (Class of 2022). Her award-winning work examines the politics of guns in American life, including those who survive gun violence’s harrowing aftermath, police who enforce the country’s complex gun laws, gun sellers and retailers who are on the front lines of surges in gun purchasing, and the people who choose to own and carry guns.

She is the author of three books including her 2023 release: Merchants of the Right: Gun Sellers and the Crisis of Democracy(Princeton University Press). Her academic articles have appeared in the leading sociology and law & society journals, including the American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, Social Forces, and Law & Society Review.

Beyond academia, Dr. Carlson has contributed to the public conversation on guns in a variety of platforms, from NPR and PBS to the Aspen Ideas Festival, and she has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal, among others. She is currently the principal investigator on a National Science Foundation grant examining the experiences of gun violence survivors in Florida and California.