UW School of Music: Carillon TowerEstablished in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984, the A. E. Havens Center for the Study of Social Justice is dedicated to promoting critical intellectual reflection and exchange, both within the academy as well as between it and the broader society. The Center is named in honor of the late Professor of Rural Sociology, A. Eugene Havens, whose life and work embodied the combination of progressive political commitment and scholarly rigor that the Center encourages.

The traditional tasks of critical social thought have been to analyze the sources of inequality and injustice in existing social arrangements, to suggest both practical and utopian alternatives to those arrangements, and to identify and learn from the many social movements seeking progressive social and political change. These tasks are as relevant today as ever. Indeed, we face a variety of challenges, both new and enduring, that demand creative critical reflection. These include the increasingly integrated and global character of capitalist economic development, the durability of racial and gender oppressions, the threats of global environmental catastrophe, and the failure of many traditional models of progressive reform.

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Upcoming events

Money in American Politics: Theory, History, and Evidence

Thomas Ferguson
"Money in American Politics: The Past"
Tuesday, April 22, 4 pm, 206 ingraham
"Money in American Politics: Back to the Future?"
Wednesday, April 23, 4pm, 8417 Social Science
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty and Public
Thursday, April 24, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science

Co-sponsored by Global Studies, the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, and the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign

THOMAS FERGUSON is Professor of Political Science at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University and taught formerly at MIT and the University of Texas, Austin. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Golden Rule: The Investment Theory of Party Competition and the Logic of Money Driven Political Systems, and Right Turn: The Decline of the Democrats and the Future of American Politics (with Joel Rogers). His articles have appeared in many scholarly journals, including the Quarterly Journal of Economics, International Organization, International Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of Economic History.  He is Contributing Editor at AlterNet, Contributing Editor to The Nation, and a member of the editorial boards of the Journal of the Historical Society and the International Journal of Political Economy. He is also Director of Research at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a member of its Advisory Board.


Sports, Labor and Social Justice

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David Meggyesy
"Sports, Labor, & Social Justice in the 21st Century: Contemporary Issues & Future Directions"
Wednesday, April 23, 7pm, Room 7191 Helen C. White

Co-sponsored by the UW History Department

DAVID MEGGYESY played linebacker for seven years with the St. Louis Cardinals, now the Arizona Cardinals. Meggyesy’s best-selling football autobiography, Out of Their League, was honored by Sports Illustrated as one of the best 100 sports books ever written. He has written articles for many publications including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Chicago Tribune and Heartland Journal. During his NFL career, Meggyesy was actively involved in the civil rights and anti-Vietnam war movements, and was co-founder of the Esalen Sports Center. Meggyesy served as western director of the national football league players association (NFLPA), the NFL players union, and is board president of athletes united for peace. 

Connected by Coffee



Special Series on IMMIGRATION

"Connected by Coffee"

Wednesday, April 23, 7pm

Union South Marquee Theatre (1308 W. Dayton, Madison, WI) 


A 1000-mile journey across Central America to show how coffee farmers and consumers can work together to create a more just world.

Post-screening discussion led by Matt Earley (Just Coffee)
Co-sponsored by the Workers Rights Center, the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice and the UW Latin American Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program

Who is Dyani Cristal



Special Series on IMMIGRATION

"Who is Dyani Cristal?"

Wednesday, April 30, 7pm

Union South Marquee Theatre (1308 W. Dayton, Madison, WI) 


An anonymous body in the Arizona desert sparks the beginning of a real-life human drama. The search for identity leads us back across a continent to seek out the people left behind.
With Gael Garcia Bernal.

Post-screening discussion led by local immigrant rights activists.
Co-sponsored by the Workers Rights Center, the Interfaith Coalition for Worker Justice and the UW Latin American Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program

Making Democracy Fun

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Josh Lerner
"Making Democracy Fun: Can Games Fix Democracy?"
Thursday, May 1, 12:20pm, 336 Ingraham

JOSH LERNER is Executive Director of the Participatory Budgeting Project, a non-profit organization that empowers communities across North America to decide how to spend public money. Josh completed a PhD in Politics at the New School for Social Research and a Masters in Planning from the University of Toronto. Since 2003, he has developed, researched, and worked with dozens of participatory programs in North America, Latin America, and Europe. He is the author of the book Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics (MIT Press), and his articles have appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The National Civic Review, YES! Magazine, Shelterforce, and the Journal of Public Deliberation.

The Path to Peace in Israel and Palestine

Mark Braverman
"The Path to Peace in Israel and Palestine: a Jewish American’s Journey"
Monday, May 5, 7pm, Pyle Center

Co-sponsored by Edgewood College-School of Integrative Studies, The Havens Center and Bright Stars of Bethlehem.

MARK BRAVERMAN is the author of Fatal Embrace: Christians, Jews, and the Search for Peace in the Holy Land, which traces his journey as a Jew struggling with the difficult realities of modern Israel, and A wall in Jerusalem: Hope, healing, and the struggle for peace in Israel and Palestine.  His writings, blog, and sermons can be found at www.markbraverman.org. Braverman is a cofounder of Friends of Tent of Nations North America, a nonprofit dedicated to supporting Palestinian land rights in historic Palestine. He serves on the advisory board of Friends of Sabeel North America and has consulted to the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA and to the Palestine Israel Network of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship.

RadFest 2014

Camp Upham Woods, May 23-25, 2014

Over Memorial Day weekend, 2014, the Havens Center will be hosting RadFest, a weekend of conversations among activists and academics on a wide range of topics concerning social justice, social transformation and social research.

The conference will take place at Camp Upham Woods, located on the Wisconsin River near the Dells.

This is a participant-driven conference – anyone can call for a session on any topic. Think of it this way: if there is a conversation you will regret not having, then give it a name, provide a few sentences to describe what you are interested in talking about, and we will schedule a time and place for the conversation. Additional conversations can be scheduled at the conference itself, but it would be good to have at least some lined up ahead of time.

There will also be time for hiking and canoeing, bonfires and music making, and relaxed discussion of important issues. Anyone interested is invited to participate - undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, political activists, community members. 

Free childcare and a children's program will be provided for children during sessions. 

The conference will begin on Friday evening, May 23, at 6pm, and end late afternoon on Sunday the 25th. One-day options are also available. Registration on-line is now available.

The cost for five meals and two nights lodging will be $65-100/person, depending upon income and lodging preference. 

For more information, contact Erik Olin Wright at wright@ssc.wisc.edu or Patrick Barrett at pbarrett@ssc.wisc.edu.