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.

Read more

Upcoming events

Capitalism, Post-Capitalism and Transition Strategies towards a Sustainable and Socially Just P2P Society

The Havens Center Spring 2015 Visiting Scholars Program presents
Michel Bauwens
“Premises for a Peer-to-Peer Economy”
Tuesday, February 10, 4pm, 206 Ingraham
“Premises for a Peer-to-Peer Society”
Wednesday, February 11, 4pm, 8417 Social Science
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty & Public
Thursday, February 12, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science

During the second week of his visit, Michel Bauwens has organized three seminars linked to Google-hangout discussions with experts on specific problems connected to understanding economic “value” in a commons based, collaborative, contributory economy. The fundamental issue to be explored is how to generate sustainable living for people who fully engage the emerging p2p economy. This is a central issue in a Real Utopias logic of social transformation: What are the effective strategies for building enclaves of alternative economic practices within capitalism that (a) embody emancipatory principles, (b) provide sustainable ways for people to gain their livelihoods through the alternative practices, and (c) have a dynamic capacity to expand the space for post-capitalist economic relations and thus erode the hegemony of capitalism itself?

Understanding ‘Value’ in a Contributory Economy: Beyond the Industrial Wage System in an Emerging Post-capitalist Economy

The wage system seems no longer appropriate in a contributory economy in which contributions create shared common pools of knowledge, which in turn stimulate economic streams. In this series of investigations, we will explore the problem of understanding value in a collaborative commons and how to generate livelihoods through contributions to the commons:

Session 1. Monday, February 16, 12:15-2:00pm, 206 Ingraham. Emerging Value Practices in Pioneering Peer Production Communities (Google Hang-out guests: Tiberius B. and Bog Haugen on open value accounting)

Session 2. Wednesday, February 18, 12:15-2:00pm, 8108 Social Science. The State of Research: Presentation by researchers in the EU funded P2P Value project which examined such communities in depth

Session 3. Thursday, February 19, 12:15-2:00pm, 8108 Social Science. The Theory: Google Hang-out guests: Adam Arvidsson, author of the Ethical Economy book which examines value in a contributive economy. 

Students interested in participating in this second week should contact Patrick Barrett at: pbarrett@ssc.wisc.edu.

MICHEL BAUWENS is the founder of the Foundation for Peer-to-Peer Alternatives and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. He has co-produced the 3-hour TV documentary Technocalyps with Frank Theys, and co-edited the two-volume book on anthropology of digital society with Salvino Salvaggio. Michel is currently Primavera Research Fellow at the University of Amsterdam and external expert at the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (2008, 2012). In 2013, Bauwens was research director of the transition project towards the social knowledge economy, an official project in Ecuador (see floksociety.org). In the first semester of 2014, Bauwens was research director of the floksociety.org research group, which produced the first integrated Commons Transition Plan for the government of Ecuador, in order to create a 'social knowledge economy', with fifteen associated policy papers. One version of the plan is available at http://en.wiki.floksociety.org/w/Research_Plan. Bauwens is also a member of the Board of the Union of International Associations (Brussels), advisor to Ouishare (Paris) and Shareable magazine (San Francisco), to Zumbara Time Bank (Istanbul) and ShareLex. He is also scientific advisor to the "Association Les Rencontres du Mont-Blanc, Forum International des Dirigeants de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire" (2013-) and in the Advisory Board for the 'Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity'. 

Russia and the Global Crisis

The Havens Center Spring 2015 Visiting Scholars Program presents
Boris Kagarlitsky
“Russia and the Global Crisis”
Thursday, February 19, 4pm

BORIS KAGARLITSKY is Director of the Institute of Globalization and Social Movements in Moscow and a well-known international commentator on Russian politics and society. Kagarlitsky was co-ordinator of the Moscow People's Front between '88 and '90, and also advised the Workers' Committee of Prokpievsk and Karaganda during this period. He was a deputy to the Moscow City Soviet between 1990-93, during which time he was a member of the executive of the Socialist Party of Russia, co-founder of the Party of Labour, and advisor to the Chairperson of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia.  Previously, he was a student of art criticism and was imprisoned for two years for 'anti-Soviet' activities. His books include Empire of the Periphery: Russia and the World System, Russia Under Yeltsin And Putin: Neo-Liberal Autocracy, and New Realism, New Barbarism: The Crisis of Capitalism.

The Strategic Role of Oppressed Communities of Color: Lessons from the Environmental Justice Movement

Bill Gallegos
“The Critical Relationship between US History and the Climate Crisis”
Tuesday, February 24, 4pm
“How a Grassroots Movement of People of Color Defeated Chevron Oil in Richmond, California”
Wednesday, February 25, 4pm
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty & Public
Thursday, February 26, 12:20pm

BILL GALLEGOS is Director of the Energy Program and former Executive Director of Communities for a Better Environment (CBE), one of the preeminent environmental justice organizations in the nation. The mission of CBE is to build people’s power in California’s communities of color and low income communities to achieve environmental health and justice by preventing and reducing pollution and building green, healthy and sustainable communities and environments. Gallegos has more than four decades of experience in developing community-based organizations and coalitions, with such responsibilities as strategic planning, program development, staff development, resource development, and program management. Gallegos is the first recipient of the Havens Center’s Activist-in-Residence Writing Fellowship.

Racial Justice and the Pleasures of Resistance: Toward New Theory, Genealogies, and Methods

The Havens Center Spring 2015 Visiting Scholars Program presents
Brittney Cooper
"The End of Respectability: Black Feminism and Ratchet Politics"
Tuesday, March 10, 4pm, 206 Ingraham
"We Can't Breathe: Making Black Lives Matter in the 21st Century"
Wednesday, March 11, 4pm, 8417 Social Science

BRITTNEY COOPER is Assistant Professor of Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers University. She received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University in 2009. She also has an M.A. from Emory (2007) and bachelors degrees in English and Political Science from Howard University (2002). Professor Cooper is currently completing her first book Race Women: Gender and the Making of a Black Public Intellectual Tradition, 1892-Present. Her work focuses extensively in the area of Black women's intellectual history, Black feminist thought, and race and gender politics in hip hop and popular culture. She has two forthcoming articles about hip hop feminism in Signs Journal of Women in Culture and Society and African American Review. Professor Cooper has also published book chapters on Black women's history in fraternal orders and the Janet Jackson Superbowl incident. She is co-founder of the Crunk Feminist Collective blog, which was named a top feminist blog by New York Magazine in 2011 and a top race blog by TheRoot.com in 2012. She writes for the CFC as "crunktastic." More information on Professor Cooper is available on her website and the Freshspeakers website.

Politics with Sober Senses: Conditions for Labor Renewal

Sam Gindin
“The Myth of American Decline”
Tuesday, April 14, 4pm
“Barriers to Union Renewal”
Wednesday, April 15, 6pm, Madison Labor Temple
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty & Public
Thursday, April 16, 12:20pm

SAM GINDIN is a Canadian who got his MA in Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the early 1970s and spent most of his working life (1974-2000) as the Research Director of the Canadian Auto Workers (and since 1985 as an Assistant to the President). From 2000-2010, he led the position of Visiting Packer Chair in Social Justice at York University. He remains active in the labour and social movements.  His writings have focused on the CAW, the auto industry, the crisis in organized labour in Canada and the US, and the political economy of American capitalism. His most recent and most ambitious project was, with his co-author Leo Panitch, of The Making of Global Capitalism: The Political Economy of American Empire. 

Contemporary Latino Politics from DREAMers to Voters

Melissa R. Michelson
“Mobilizing Inclusion: Getting out the Latino Vote”
Tuesday, April 21, 4pm
“Living the DREAM: The Political Lives of Undocumented Latino Youth”
Wednesday, April 22, 4pm
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty & Public
Thursday, April 23, 12:20pm

MELISSA R. MICHELSON is Professor of Political Science at Menlo College. She received her B.A. in political science from Columbia University in 1990, master’s degrees from Yale University in 1991 and 1994, and her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1994. Her major strands of research include Latino political incorporation, field experiments in voter mobilization of ethnic and racial minorities, and field experiments on fostering attitudinal change on polarized political issues such as same-sex marriage. She is co-author of the award winning book Mobilizing Inclusion: Redefining Citizenship through Get-Out-the-Vote Campaigns (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012), as well as Living the Dream: New Immigration Policies and the Lives of Undocumented Latino Youth (Paradigm Publishers, September 2014). She is currently working on another book manuscript, Listen, We Need to Talk, contracted with Yale University Press, which uses field experiments to explore how to generate attitudinal change on contentious political issues such as same-sex marriage. She has published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed academic journals and a dozen chapters in edited volumes. In her spare time Dr. Michelson knits and runs marathons.