Kristin Goss, Ph.D.

Duke University

Phone: 919-613-7331

Address: Box 90245, Sanford 234, Duke University

City: Durham, North Carolina - 27708

Country: United States

About Me:

My work focuses on how everyday Americans participate in public life and why it matters. I am privileged to serve on the faculty of Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy, where I am Kevin D. Gorter Associate Professor of Public Policy and Political Science and Director of the Duke in DC semester-in-Washington program. I am honored to be a member of the Bass Society of Fellows, which recognizes faculty members who combine excellence in research, teaching, and university citizenship. I think, teach, and talk about guns, gender, and giving. Each of these topics illuminates a different aspect of democratic engagement in contemporary America. I am the author (or co-author/co-editor) of four books – Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in AmericaThe Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Philip J. Cook); Gun Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Politics, Policy, and Practice (co-edited with Jennifer Carlson and Harel Shapira); and The Paradox of Gender Equality: How American Women's Groups Gained and Lost Their Public Voice. I have published related articles in political science, law, and interdisciplinary journals, together with  numerous book chapters. Looping back to my days as a reporter, I’m now doing work on philanthropic donors in the policy process. In articles and a forthcoming book, I examine how indivdiual and institutional donors are both ameliorating as well as exacerbating civic and political inequality in America. My particular interest lies in how philanthropy might strengthen pluralist democracy and its institutions. I am part of a growing movement of academics who believe that policy-oriented research can and must play a bigger role in informing the policy process at all stages. I am active in the Scholars Strategy Network, a national organization of publicly engaged academics. I frequently speak to the media and public audiences to help bridge the gap between the “ivory tower” and the real world of practice. And as a private citizen, I am an active member of the League of Women Voters of Arlington (VA), having served on the board for a dozen years, including three as president. I wrote the first edition of Better Together, the report of the Saguaro Seminar: Civic Engagement in America, whose members included a young state senator named Barack Obama. Before Duke, I taught at Georgetown and was a consultant at the Corporation for National and Community Service. A native of Denver, I hold a PhD in political science from Harvard University, a Master of Public Policy from Duke University, and an AB (with high honors) from Harvard College.

Research Interests

Public Policy

Gun Politics

Gender and Politics


Political Participation

Political Parties and Interest Groups


Gun Control

Gender & Citizenship

Interest Groups

Social Movements

Countries of Interest

United States


Journal Articles:

(2019) Bringing Organizations Back In: Multi-Level Feedback Effects on Individual Civic Inclusion, Policy Studies Journal

Co-authored with Carolyn Barnes and Deondra Rose, the article examines how public policy shapes nonprofit organizations and in turn affects individuals' engagement with politics.

(2018) Donors for Democracy? Philanthropy and the Challenges of Pluralism in the 21st Century., Interest Groups & Advocacy

This article, co-authored with Jeffrey Berry, explores how major individual donors and big philanthropic foundations are responding to strains on democratic norms and institutions in the U.S.

(2018) Foundations as Interest Groups, Interest Groups & Advocacy

Co-authored with Jeffrey Berry, this article argues that charitable foundations perform many of the same functions as political interest groups, but with some differences.

(2017) The Socialization of Conflict and Its Limits: Gender and Gun Politics in America, Social Science Quarterly

Using a wide array of data, the article questions the conventional wisdom that American women are taking up arms.

(2017) Gendering the Second Amendment, Law & Contemporary Problems

Co-authored with Jennifer Carlson, the article argues that the American state performs gender roles and that, in turn, gun policy reflects evolving ideas of male authority.

(2016) Policy Plutocrats: How America’s Wealthy Influence Governance, PS Political Science and Politics

This article explores the policy interests of America's wealthiest philanthropists and argues that, with hundreds of billions of dollars at their disposal, they are a significant force for agenda setting, movement building, and policy reform.

Books Written:

(2018) Gun Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Politics, Policy, and Practice, Routledge

Edited volume containing cutting-edge research on gun culture, politics, and policy.

(2014) The Gun Debate: What Everyone Needs to Know, Oxford University Press

C0-authored with Philip J. Cook, this book provides a broad and accessible overview of all aspects of the gun issue - history, culture, criminology, politics, policy, law, and so forth.

(2013) The Paradox of Gender Equality: How American Women's Groups Gained and Lost Their Public Voice, University of Michigan Press

This book examines how women's civic place has changed over the span of more than 120 years, from the late 19th century through 2000. It finds that - contrary to conventional wisdom - women's collective political engagement exploded after the battle for suffrage was won and roared through the supposedly quiet 1950s. At mid-century, women's groups were engaged in a dizzying array of public policy issues, typically having little to do with women's rights and status. But then women's organizations began a steady slide, such that by the 1990s, they were infrequently invited to share their expertise with lawmakers, and then only on a narrow range of issues. The book concludes with a preview of a new era of women's organizing in the early 21st century - one based on interesting new combinations of gender identities (maternal, feminist, intersectional, and so forth). The book reaches several contrarian conclusions. One is that legal exclusion was not necessarily a barrier to participation for women. Another is that mid-century women were underestimated. A third is that rights movements do not necessarily constitute the best way to understand the political participation of marginalized groups. And finally, the explosion in post-2016 organizing has precedents and makes sense in a historical context.

(2006) Disarmed: The Missing Movement for Gun Control in America, Princeton University Press

This book is an analytical history of the gun control movement through 2004. It explores the struggles that advocates have faced to mobilized a grassroots movement for stricter gun laws. The book considers sources of external support, they framing of the issue, and advocacy strategies deployed by gun control organizations.

Book Chapters:

(2018) Whatever Happened to the ‘Missing Movement’? Gun Control Politics Over Two Decades of Change, Routledge

The chapter reviews key developments in gun politics in an age of mass shootings.

(2018) U.S. Women’s Groups in National Policy Debates, 1880-2000, Oxford University Press

Included in "100 Years of the Nineteenth Amendment: An Appraisal of Women’s Political Activism," edited by Lee Ann Banaszak and Holly McCammon. The chapter traces the rise and fall of women's organizations as a force for wide-ranging policy advocacy on Capitol Hill.

(2017) The Swells Between the ‘Waves’: American Women’s Activism, 1920-1965, Oxford University Press

Included in the Oxford Handbook of U.S. Women’s Social Movement Activism, this chapter explores vibrant organizing by women of color, working-class women, and white middle-class women during the supposedly quiescent middle decades of the 20th century.

Media Appearances:

TV Appearances:

(2018) CBC

Gun politics

Radio Appearances:

(2018) NPR Marketplace

Gun politics

(2018) BBC

Gun politics

(2017) Ways and means Podcast

Former US Rep. Patricia Schroeder and I discuss the evolution of women's political participation since the 1970s.

(2017) Policy 360 Podcast

I discuss how the movement for gun regulation has gone from "missing" to "present and accounted for" over the past decade.

(2016) Sirius XM Insight

Political participation

Newspaper Quotes:

(2019) The Hill

How Gun Control Activists Learned from the NRA


Comment on "MeToo" movement against sexual harassment and assault.

(2018) Christian Science Monitor

Are mass shootings doomed to be America’s ‘new normal’? ‘That is a myth.’

(2018) Sydney Morning Herald

How gun control went from a vote loser to a vote winner these midterms

(2018) Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Gun rights vs. gun control a major factor for many Georgia voters

(2018) Fast Company

Can the anti-gun-violence movement outraise–and outspend–the NRA?

(2017) HuffPo

Discussion of my work on the gun regulation movement.

Blog Posts:

(2018) The Trace

What's Next for the Parkland Activists?

(2018) HistPhil

Foundations and Their Interests (with Jeffrey Berry)

(2017) HistPhil

Commentary on new philanthropy book, The Givers

(2017) Nonprofit Quarterly

Examines the response of leading foundations and elite donors to the Trump presidency (with Jeffrey M. Berry).

(2017) NonProfit Quarterly

Are Foundations Part of the Resistance? Challenges to Elite Donors in a Neo-Populist Age (with Jeffrey Berry)

(2017) Vox / Mischiefs of Faction

Examines how American women's groups gained, lost, and regained their voice in democratic politics.

(2017) London School of Economics - US Politics

Examines the role of policy-oriented donors in meeting the twin challenges of government dysfunction and anti-elite backlash.