UW School of Music: Carillon TowerEstablished in the Sociology Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1984, the A. E. Havens Center for 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

Jackson Rising: The Struggle for Economic Democracy & Black Self-Determination in Jackson, MS

Kali Akuno
"Learning from Mississippi: Cooperation Jackson, Chowkwe Lumumba, & Building a Social & Political Strategy for the 21st Century"
Tuesday, February 21, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
"Navigating the Storm: Organizing in a Right-wing Context & Building Resistance in the Era of Trump"
Wednesday, February 22, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty & Public
Thursday, February 23, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science

KALI  AKUNO is the co-director of Cooperation Jackson, an emerging network of worker cooperatives and supporting institutions based in Jackson, MS. Cooperation Jackson seeks to create economic democracy and a vibrant solidarity economy in Jackson that will help to transform Mississippi and the South. Kali served as the Director of Special Projects and External Funding in the Mayoral Administration of the late Chokwe Lumumba of Jackson, MS. His focus was supporting cooperative development, sustainability, human rights and international relations. He is also the former Co-Director of the US Human Rights Network and served as the Executive Director of the Peoples' Hurricane Relief Fund (PHRF) based in New Orleans, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. 


The Jackson-Kush Plan and the Struggle for Black Self-determination and Economic Democracy 

Casting Shadows: Chokwe Lumumba and the Struggle for Racial Justice and Economic Democracy in Jacskon, MS

Do Not Resist

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Wednesday, February 22, 7pm

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

Post-migrant Societies: Plural Democracies in Change

Naika Foroutan
"The Migration-Craze: Migrants, Refugees and Muslims in the Public Eye"
Tuesday, February 28, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
"Is it really about Migration? Rethinking Concepts of Integration in Plural Democracies"
Wednesday, March 1, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty and Public
Thursday, March 2, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science

NAIKA FOROUTAN is Professor of Social Sciences at the Humboldt-University in Berlin. She specializes in integration and migration research with a particular focus on countries of immigration, their shifting identities as well as their prevalent attitudes towards minorities. She has been appointed Vice-Director of the Berlin Institute on Integration and Migration Research (BIM) – a research institute based at Humboldt University aimed at providing empirical analysis for migration and integration debates in Europe. She has published widely on the themes of shifting identities in Germany, attitudes towards Muslims in Germany as well as on postmigrant societies - a newly developed theoretical framework for analyzing transformations in migration-impacted societies.  


Co-sponsored by the Center for German and European Studies 

The True Cost

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Wednesday, March 1, 7pm

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

Shifting Racial Politics in the 21st Century: How Policy Has Created New Racial Fault Lines

Natalie Masuoka
"From Assignment to Identification: Mixed Race Identities in American Politics"
Wednesday, March 8, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
"The Unanticipated Implications of Immigration Policy: Social Class Variation in Asian American and Latino Communities"
Thursday, March 9, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty and Public
Friday, March 10, 12 noon, 336 Ingraham

NATALIE MASUOKA is Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of Asian American Studies at Tufts. Her research specializes in the area of American racial and ethnic politics with a focus on political behavior, public opinion and political psychology. Her work pays attention to the ways in which race, immigration and identity influence political attitude formation among racial minorities, in particular those new immigrant groups, Asian Americans and Latinos. She is the author, with Jane Junn, of The Politics of Belonging: Race, Public, the winner of the 2014 Ralph Bunche Award by the American Political Science Association.  Her forthcoming book Multiracial Identification and Racial Politics in the United States studies the political consequences of the "two or more races" population, or those who self-identify as mixed race or multiracial. 

Seed: The Untold Story




Wednesday, March 8, 7pm

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

The Occupation of the American Mind

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Wednesday, March 15, 7pm

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

Global Capitalism, Global War, Global Crisis

Adam Morton
"A Necessarily Historical Materialist Moment"
Tuesday, March 28, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
"Global War and the New Imperialism"
Wednesday, March 29, 4pm, 6191 Helen C. White
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty and Public
Thursday, March 30, 4pm, 8108 Social Science

ADAM DAVID MORTON is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, Australia. His research interests include state theory, the political economy of development, geographical studies, and historical sociology in their relevance to the study of modern Mexico. He is the author of Unravelling Gramsci: Hegemony and Passive Revolution in the Global Political Economy (Pluto, 2007) and Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development, Updated Edition (Rowman & Littlefield, 2013), which is to be published in Spanish translation with Siglo XXI in 2017 and was awarded the 2012 Book Prize of the British International Studies Association (BISA) International Political Economy Group (IPEG). He has published articles in various journals, including Antipode; Environment and Planning D; Historical Materialism; International Studies Quarterly; Latin American Perspectives; New Political Economy; Review of International Political Economy; Review of International Studies; and Third World Quarterly. His blog site, For the Desk Drawer, covers the broad themes of political economy, historical sociology, and geography studies at http://adamdavidmorton.com/ and he is editor of the new blog site Progress in Political Economy (PPE) that is fast becoming a central forum for political economy debates at http://ppesydney.net/.

Black Radical Politicking: Anti-Blackness, Youth, and Debating in Civil Society

Shanara Reid-Brinkley
"Anti-Blackness and the Political: Millennials, Black Intellectuals, and the Re-shaping of American Politics"
Tuesday, April 18, 4pm, 3401 Sterling Hall
"Black Radical Rhetoric(s): A Case Study in Black Youth Activism"
Wednesday, April 19, 4pm, 3401 Sterling Hall
Open Seminar for Students, Faculty and Public
Thursday, April 20, 12:20pm, 8108 Social Science

SHANARA REID-BRINKLEY is currently a Visiting Scholar in the Humanities Center at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research is in the areas of Rhetoric, Critical Cultural Studies, Media Studies, African American Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Urban Studies. She specializes in the study of race and gender in public address and advocacy and media and culture. Each area oscillates around my interest in African American representation, culture, politics, history and performance in the U.S. context. Her current book project is tentatively titled, Young, Black and Political: Radical Activism, Argument Culture and Civil Society, which centers black youth politics and activism in the educational context. How do black youth discuss race-centered political questions and what kinds of rhetorical and bodily performances do they utilize to engage in public argument?

Forward 2017

Where do we Go from Here? Understanding the Current Crisis & Building Social Justice in the Midwest

Forward is an annual gathering of community activists, students, and educators committed to social justice. In keeping with the Wisconsin Idea, Forward provides an open space for freewheeling discussion, strengthening alliances and networks, and developing visions and strategies for progressive social, economic, and political change. This is a participant driven forum that builds on three decades of RadFest gatherings hosted by the UW-Madison Havens Center for Social Justice.

This year’s gathering, which will take place at Edgewood College in Madison, WI on the weekend of June 2-4, will devote substantial attention to understanding the outcome of the 2016 elections and their implications for the struggle for social justice in the Midwest, including Wisconsin. The central goal is to foster collaboration among organizers, activists, educators, and students interested in problem-solving on a range of crucial issues that reflect the present crisis, including immigration, mass incarceration and policing, resource and water defense, labor rights, and women’s rights, among others.

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for information and updates, including registratoin and program.


1917-2017: Wars & Revolutions

Tariq Ali
"1917-2017: Wars and Revolutions"
October 2017

TARIQ ALI is a writer and filmmaker. He has written more than two dozen books on world history and politics, and seven novels (translated into over a dozen languages) as well as scripts for the stage and screen. He is an editor of New Left Review and lives in London. His nonfiction books include Pirates Of The Caribbean, Conversations with Edward Said, Bush in Babylon, Clash of Fundamentalisms, The Obama Syndrome, and The Extreme Centre: A Warning. His most recent book, The Dilemmas of Lenin: Terrorism, War, Empire, Love, Revolution, is due out in April 2017.