Pam Oliver

Position title: Ex-Officio Member, Board of Visitors


BA, 1971, Sociology, Stanford

MA, 1972, Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

PhD, 1977, Sociology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Pamela Oliver is a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin who has published many articles and a book on collective action and social movements, including her influential work on the “critical mass” with Gerald Marwell, studies of news coverage of protests, and theoretical work on the coevolution of movements, protest and news coverage.

Since 1999, she has devoted much of her time to analyzing and speaking about statistical patterns of racial disparity in criminal justice in Wisconsin and the nation. She has made over 100 public presentations on these issues and served on the Governor’s Commission to Reduce Racial Disparities in Criminal Justice in 2007-8 and the Dane County Task on Racial Disparities 2008-9.

She is working on a project about the politics of incarceration and analyzing differences among US states and metro areas in their racial disparity patterns and is developing an integration of theories of ethnic conflict, social movements, social control, and repression. She teaches “Ethnic Movements in the US” which compares American Indian, African American, Mexican American, and Asian American movements and politics.

She has served as the chair of the Department of Sociology twice and has also been a member of the Asian American Studies Faculty Advisory Committee for many years. She now has an active “public sociology” presence through her academic blog Race, Politics, Justice.