Hundreds of demonstrators from the community gather and speak out against racism and racial injustice

The study of race, justice, and inequality is at the fore for many of our faculty and graduate students.

See our research and resources on understanding and ameliorating racial inequality More
Lake Mendota, Lake Monona, along with the downtown Madison.

“Guided by the Wisconsin Idea of service to the citizens of Wisconsin and beyond, the Department of Sociology conducts world-class research on important local and global social issues and prepares students for meaningful careers and lives of engaged citizenship.”
- Mission Statement of the Department of Sociology

Our department is a well-knit community of faculty, staff, and students.  Under our umbrella, we pursue research that is leading many sociological subfields in new and different directions. We emphasize teaching and public service as well as research. Indeed, we draw no hard boundaries between our research, teaching, and service missions. We value and promote methodological, social, and cultural diversity.

The Department of Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is committed to understanding and ameliorating racial inequality. We condemn the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha as well as the killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony Robinson and many others before and since. We are adamantly against racism and bigotry in all of its forms.

Resources on Race, Justice, and Inequality

UW-Madison students (near to far) Courtney Gorum, Molly Pistono and Daniel Ledin work together to paint a mural commemorating the names of Black victims of police violence and racial injustice throughout the country on a boarded up window of the Community Pharmacy building on State Street in Madison, Wisconsin on June 5, 2020. The mural is one of many that have been painted on businesses and shops along the street following several nights of protests in response to the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, a black man, on May 25, 2020. (Photo by Bryce Richter / UW-Madiso

An Op-Ed Piece in the “New York Times” by Sociology Alumni Gianpaolo Baiocchi (Ph.D. 2001) and H. Jacob Carlson (Ph.D. 2020)

In an op-ed article titled “A Fix for More Affordable Housing” in the March 4 edition of the “New York Times” Baiocchi and Carlson propose a plan to promote affordable housing during the difficult economic period in the United States caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  After a review of what happened to housing after the 2018 financial crisis they write, “We propose the creation of the Social Housing Development Authority, a federal agency that would purchase distressed real estate, ensure it is livable and environmentally sound, and finance its transfer to the so-called social housing sector, including tenant cooperatives, community land trusts, nonprofits or public housing.”

The article describes their plan for obtaining property, refurbishing housing, community engagement, and policy change.  Baiocchi and Carlson argue “Crises are moments of upheaval, but they are also opportunities to look at the ways we’ve done things and ask whether we could do them differently in the future. It is time to make transformative change in a housing system that even before the pandemic was failing too many. Congress and the White House have a chance to create policies that not only help us bounce back from this crisis, but also help prevent the next one.”

Gianpaolo Baiocchi is a professor and director of the Urban Democracy Lab at New York University and H. Jacob Carlson is a postdoctoral research associate at Brown University’s Population Studies and Training Center, and Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4).

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