How and why do everyday Americans get involved in public life? Whose voices are heard – and whose are not? Why does political engagement matter? I examine these questions by looking at reform movements (e.g., for gun violence prevention); at social groups (e.g., women); and at support structures (e.g., policy-minded donors). My CV is here.

What’s new?

Concerned about gun violence, gun policy, and gun politics? Everything you need to know is in the new edition of The Gun Debate (with Philip Cook; 2020). Here are my thoughts on the political meaning of the Supreme Court’s 2022 ruling in New York State Rifle & Pistol Assn. v. Bruen. The “missing movement” for gun reform is no longer missing, as I document in Gun Studies: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Policy, Politics, and Practice (co-edited with Jennifer Carlson and Harel Shapira). And public engagement in the American gun debate appears to be shifting as gun regulation advocates seek to be heard (as Matthew Lacombe and I illustrate).

One hundred years after suffrage, American women are spearheading a great political reformation, as I argue in the Preface to the 2nd ed. of The Paradox of Gender Equality (2020). These activist women have a lot of history on which to draw, as I show in this volume celebrating the 19th Amendment.

Might big philanthropists be donors for democracy? Jeffrey Berry and I have an early take in our symposium in Interest Groups & Advocacy 

Public policy acts on nonprofits to shape people’s civic engagement, as Carolyn Barnes, Deondra Rose, and I demonstrate in Policy Studies Journal.



I teach American politics courses at Duke in the fall semester and run the Duke in DC “semester away” program for undergraduates in the spring. My courses cover the politics of the policymaking process; democratic participation and inequality; philanthropy and public policy; and practical applications of policy theories. I typically ask students to produce research for a “real world” client. I also advise student theses at the undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral levels. I’m the grateful recipient of the Sanford School’s 2021 award for undergraduate teaching. I’m their teacher, but more so, they are mine. 


With privilege comes responsibility: to engage with policymakers, journalists, civic groups, and private citizens. (Some thoughts on our role.) I am honored to give public talks, assist journalists, contribute to my community, bring practitioners into my classroom, and support student work on “real world” dilemmas. I’m a member of the Scholars Strategy Network, the American Political Science Association, and the League of Women Voters.

Books by Kristin Goss

Gun Debate