From Madison to Zuccotti Park: Confronting Class and Reclaiming the American Dream

ClassCrits V Workshop: November 16-17, 2012 at the Pyle Center


About this Event: This workshop, the fifth meeting of ClassCrits, takes on class and the American dream as its theme. The most quintessentially American trait may be our capacity to look past current misfortune and imagine a brighter future. Americans love a “rags to riches” story and have long believed that hard work and determination will pay off in the long run. Two years into a sluggish “recovery” from the Great Recession, however, many Americans have lost some of that earnest optimism. Faced with persistent unemployment, a nationwide foreclosure crisis, deep cuts to state and local budgets, and declining state support for public education, Americans are questioning the promise of upward mobility. Indeed falling backwards is now a recognized phenomenon affecting more and more of the “middle class,” arguably blurring the distinctions between the “middle class,” the “working classes” and “the poor.” But, roused by economic insecurity and the political assault on workers’ rights, “ordinary” people from Madison to Zuccotti Park have taken to the streets to voice their dissent. Taking on the slogan “we are the 99%,” the protest movement has launched a national dialogue about income, wealth and structural inequality, race, gender and class divisions in society, and, fundamentally, what it will take to reclaim our vision of a good life. From Madison to Zuccotti Park: Confronting Class and Reclaiming the American Dream will therefore bring together scholars, economists, activists, policymakers, and others to critically examine both the relationships between and the complexities of class and inequality.
More information about ClassCrits is posted here.

The University of Wisconsin Law School and the Institute for Legal Studies, Southwestern Law School and UC Davis School of Law.

Who is Invited:
This workshop is open to faculty, academic staff, law students, graduate students, and the legal community. Space is very limited and early registration is advised.

Program Information

Link to Final Program (6-page pdf) 11/12/12 
Link to Abstracts (20-page pdf) updated 11/12/12
Link to Participant Bio Statements (12-page pdf)  updated 11/12/12

Link to 35 Draft Papers (password-protected link; access will be provided only to registered participants) Papers are workshop drafts, not for citation or circulation.

How to submit your accepted paper: email to
Friday, Nov. 16th and Saturday, Nov. 17th, all day. Registration and refreshments at 8:00; sessions start at 9:00 am, ending at 6:00 pm on Friday and 5:30 pm on Saturday.
Location: The Pyle Conference Center, 702 Langdon Street, on the University of Wisconsin campus. Registration will take place on the third floor reception area; sessions will take place in room 325, with concurrent sessions in room 335.
Keynote Speaker:
Professor Erik Olin Wright, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin.

Advance Registration Required - No Fee - Limited Seating Available

What is Included: Program materials, refreshments and lunch will be provided on both days for participants and registered attendees. (There will be a private reception and dinner on Friday evening for panelists, organizers, and faculty participants.)   

Sorry - as of 11/7/12 registration has closed.  Please contact to inquire if late registrations can be accepted.

Hotel and Travel Information

Directions to the Pyle Center and Lowell Center:  Travel Info and UW Campus Map 
Due to construction, Langdon Street is one-way, with traffic flowing west. Drivers are encouraged to view the campus area map and allow extra time to find parking.
For people staying at the Lowell Center, note that the parking entrance is on Frances Street. If you miss the turn onto Frances Street it will take about 10 minutes to circle back to Langdon Street. Please see the map for other public parking options.

Hotel Block
(Reserve by October 15th): There is a block of rooms at the Lowell Inn and Conference Center, located at 610 Langdon Street, Madison, about a half block from the Pyle Center. Room rates $89 and up include breakfast; onsite parking is available for a small fee. Note that rooms will be released 4 weeks before the event. To reserve a room in this block, paste this event-specific link into your browser window:  or call  608-256-2621 or toll free 866-301-1753 and request group code BRITO.
     Additional hotel information can be found at

Alternative Hotel (Release date October 15th): Fluno Center for Executive Education  Located at 601 University Avenue, about two blocks from the conference venue.
See link for details and ask for the ClassCrits block.

If you choose to fly into Mitchell airport in Milwaukee:
There is regular and inexpensive bus service between campus (and the nearby conference hotel) and the airport in Milwaukee. You can check out the schedules and times at The stop at the airport is called Milwaukee Mitchell Airport and the campus stop is Memorial Union Madison or Chazen Museum Madison. The two stops are a block apart and the online instructions will tell you which one to select depending on whether it's departing or arriving into Madison.

Event Poster

Click here for a 8.5 x 11 (pdf) color poster for this event.

Questions: For program-related questions, please contact Program Chair Professor Tonya Brito.
For questions regarding event logistics or information posted on this site, please contact Pam Hollenhorst, Associate Director of the Institute for Legal Studies.

Lock Icon