Spring 2023

Mobilization, the US Firearms Industry, and Gun Rights in World War I

Listed in: Colloquia, as COLQ-226


Jonathan M. Obert (Section 01)


World War I posed the most significant challenge to American industrial mobilization since the Civil War. This course will delve deeply into the role of firearms makers (in particular, Winchester Repeating Arms) on the political, economic, and social mobilization of the US before, during, and after the Great War. It will offer students a chance to explore the ways in which gun makers reorganized their labor forces, production and sales techniques, and product lines to meet the needs of the US government and its allies. We will also examine how these efforts co-evolved with the growth of the National Rifle Administration (NRA) and other “patriotic” proto-gun rights organizations in the first decades of the twentieth century. Course research will involve a wide variety of techniques, including primary source analysis, case studies, dataset compilation, and potentially even social network analysis and Geographical Information Systems. It will also provide interested students with an opportunity to collaborate on a research article.

This course is part of a model of tutorials at Amherst designed to enable students to engage in substantive research with faculty in the humanities and humanistic social sciences.

Limited to 7 students.  Open to Sophomores and Juniors.  Spring semester. Professor Obert.

How to handle overenrollment: Priority given to political science majors and AC students

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: Students are expected to contribute to research acquisition and analysis and to engage in original writing.

COLQ 226 - LEC

Section 01
Th 2:30 PM - 5:15 PM BARR 105


2023-24: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2023