Center for Work and Democracy Fall Conference

2018 Teacher's Strike

Organizing and Protest in Political Crisis

Center for Work and Democracy Fall Conference + "Degenerations of Democracy" Book Launch

Date: Aug. 2627, 2022

Location: ASU Tempe campus, Memorial Union, Ventana Ballroom (241C) and virtually on Zoom

Register here:

The Center for Work and Democracy’s Fall Conference considers what can be done to preserve democratic society and improve conditions for working people in a context of authoritarian threat, diminished political rights, concentrated wealth and violent policing. Many of the institutions that once amplified the voice and power of working people, such as unions and civic associations, are in crisis, while both political parties have enabled growing socioeconomic inequality and the erosion of citizens’ rights (though to differing degrees), even as they fail to implement technocratic or common sense solutions to pressing problems like climate change and declining life expectancy. What can organizations and activists do to make the world a better place in the midst of these metastasizing crises? The conference will bring together successful activists, organization leaders, organizers and academics to reflect on what has been accomplished and what needs to be done.

Keynotes by Marcia Howard (vice president, Minnesota Federation of Teachers; community leader, George Floyd Square; English teacher, Roosevelt High School) and Dave Regan (president, United Healthcare Workers West/SEIU).

The late afternoon panel on Friday will feature a book launch for Craig Calhoun, Dilip Gaonkar and Charles Taylor’s new book, "Degenerations of Democracy." Craig Calhoun (university professor, Arizona State University) will be discussing his and his co-authors' effort to come to grips with democracy's crisis, and Cedric de Leon and Stephanie Mudge will comment on the book.

Other participants include:

  • Ruth Milkman– Distinguished Professor of Sociology, The Graduate Center, CUNY; author of "Immigrant Labor and the New Precariat" (Polity, 2020)
  • Mary Margaret Fonow– professor of women and gender studies, Arizona State University
  • Cedric de Leon– professor of sociology and director of the Labor Center, UMass Amherst; author of "Crisis! When Political Parties Lose the Consent to Rule" (Stanford 2019)
  • Cedric Johnson– professor of Black studies and political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago
  • Rashad Shabazz– associate professor of African and African American studies, Arizona State University
  • Michael McQuarrie– associate professor, School of Social Transformation, Arizona State University; director, the Center for Work and Democracy
  • Stephanie Mudge– associate professor of sociology, the University of California, Davis
  • Jeffrey J. Sallaz associate professor of sociology, The University of Arizona
  • Sheri Davis-Faulkner– associate director, Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, Rutgers
  • Yolanda Bejarano national legislative and political field director, Communications Workers of America
  • Monica McDermott– associate Professor, The Sanford School, Arizona State University; author of "Whiteness in America" (Polity, 2020)
  • Sujey Vega– associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, affiliate faculty member, the School of Transborder Studies and Religious Studies at Arizona State University; Director, the Community Collaborative Initiatives Program
  • Rebecca Garelli– #RedforEd teacher leader
  • Heidi Gottfried– associate professor of sociology, Wayne State University
  • Johnnie Lotesta– assistant professor of sociology, Appalachian State University
  • Jared Abbott– director, Center for Working-Class Politics
  • Sara Gia TrongonePhD candidate, Department of Sociology, University of Wisconsin Madison
  • Benjamin Fong– Honors Faculty Fellow in the Barrett Honors College; associate director of the Center for Work and Democracy, Arizona State University
  • Maria Esch– graduate student, School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University; research assistant, the Center for Work and Democracy
  • Sacha Hillhorst– doctoral candidate, Department of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Lisbeth Espinosa– field coordinator, Health Care Rising Arizona
  • Ben Tracey– director, Healthcare Rising Arizona
  • Kate Shaughnessy– leadership and organizational development coordinator, AFL-CIO
  • Jessica Grennan– director, Healthcare Rising Arizona
  • Ashley Cooper– PhD candidate, justice studies, Arizona State University
  • Benjamin Case– postdoctoral research scholar, the Center of Work and Democracy, Arizona State University

Conference Schedule


10:30-11:00: Coffee

11:00-11:20: Welcome

  • Michael McQuarrie (ASU)

11:20-12:30: Keynote: Marcia Howard on workers’ organizations and the movement for black liberation

  • Chair: Michael McQuarrie (ASU)
  • Presenter: Marcia Howard (Minnesota Federation of Teachers, George Floyd Square, Roosevelt High School)
  • Comment: Rashad Shabazz (ASU)
  • Comment: Cedric Johnson (University of Illinois-Chicago)

12:30-1:30: Lunch

1:30-3:30: The Labor Movement and Its Renewal: Research Papers

  • Chair: Mary Margaret Fonow (ASU)
  • Presenter: Ruth Milkman (CUNY Graduate Center), “A New Generation of Labor Activists: Origins and Future Prospects”
  • Presenter: Sheri Davis-Faulkner (Rutgers University), TBA
  • Presenter: Sara Gia Trongone (University of Wisconsin, Madison), “A New Collective Bargain? A Multicase Comparison of US Labor Union Strategy.”
  • Presenter: Jeff Sallaz (University of Arizona), “Can Outsourced Workers be Organized?”
  • Comment: Heidi Gottfried (Wayne State University)

4:00-5:30: Book Launch: Craig Calhoun, Dilip Gaonkar, Charles Taylor, "Degenerations of Democracy"

  • Chair: Michael McQuarrie (ASU)
  • Presenter: Craig Calhoun (ASU)
  • Comment: Cedric DeLeon (UMass Amherst)
  • Comment: Stephanie Mudge (UC Davis)
  • Comment: Ben Fong (ASU)

5:30-6:00: Book launch reception

7:00-: Dinner for presenters and out-of-town guests at HnB


9-11: Advisory Board Meeting (no public presentations)

11:30-1:00: Panels

Panel 1
Place, Civic Culture and the Right

  • Chair: Craig Calhoun (ASU)
  • Presenter: Monica McDermott (ASU), "From Cyber Ninja to Klansman: Right-wing Attitudes in Phoenix and the Midwest"
  • Presenter: Sacha Hilhorst (London School of Economics), “’They’re all corrupt’: How a sense of corruption changes politics in former Labour strongholds.”
  • Presenter: Rashad Shabazz (ASU), “Prince, Place, and the Origins of the Minneapolis Sound.”
  • Comment: Marcia Howard (Minnesota Federation of Teachers, George Floyd Square, Roosevelt High School)
  • Comment: Craig Calhoun (ASU)

Panel 2
Party Problems: Electoral Politics, Ballot Initiatives and Egalitarian Aspirations

  • Chair: Ben Fong (ASU)
  • Presenter: Jared Abbott (Center for Working-Class Politics), “Candidates for Change: A New Comprehensive Dataset of Congressional Candidate Characteristics and Messaging.”
  • Presenter: Ben Case (ASU), “Majority Rules: The Fight for Ballot Initiatives.”
  • Presenter: Johnnie Lotesta (Appalachian State University), “Manufacturing Consent: Opinion Crafting and the Campaign for Right-to-Work in America’s Industrial Heartland.”
  • Comment: Stephanie Mudge (UC Davis)
  • Comment: Jessica Grennan (Healthcare Rising Arizona)

Panel 3
Organizing and Activism in Arizona

  • Chair: Sujey Vega (ASU)
  • Presenter: Yolanda Torres (Soros Fellow) and Ashley Cooper (ASU), “Collective Collateral: Building Convival Networks in Perryville Women’s Prison”
  • Presenter: Lisbeth Espinosa and Ben Tracey (Healthcare Rising Arizona)
  • Presenter: Yolanda Bejarano (Communications Workers of America)
  • Comment: Mary Margaret Fonow (ASU)
  • Comment: Kate Shaughnessy (AFL-CIO)

1:00-2:00: Lunch

2:00-3:30: Roundtable Discussion: Possibilities for Labor Movement Renewal

  • Chair: Michael McQuarrie (ASU)
  • Panelist: Marcia Howard (Minnesota Federation of Teachers, George Floyd Square, Roosevelt High School)
  • Panelist: Cedric DeLeon (UMass Amherst)
  • Panelist: Rebecca Garelli (Red for Ed, State Department of Education)
  • Panelist: Ruth Milkman (CUNY Graduate Center)

4:00-5:30: Keynote: Building Workers’ Organizations that Can Win

  • Chair: Craig Calhoun (ASU)
  • Presenter: Dave Regan (United Healthcare Workers West/SEIU)

Email for more information.

The Center for Work and Democracy is a research center housed in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University. The Center engages in research and education that contributes to understanding the politics of working people in the United States. We study protest, institutional politics, organization building, and the changing shape of capitalism in modern America. Director: Michael McQuarrie, Associate Director: Ben Fong, Community Research Director: Sujey Vega, Staff Researcher: Muriel Payraudeau, Postdoctoral Fellow: Ben Case, Activist-in-residence: Jeanelle Austin, Research Assistants: Maria Esch and Jorge Hernandez. Advisory board members: Craig Calhoun (chair), Mary Margaret Fonow, Rashad Shabazz, Scott Brooks, Cedric Johnson, David Rolf, Yolanda Bejarano, Rebecca Garelli, David Rolf, Miranda Nelson, and Cedric DeLeon. Faculty Affiliates: Monica McDermott, Steven Beschloss, Mike Selmi, Indulata Prasad, Eric Swank, LaDawn Haglund, Nancy Jurik.
Maria Esch
Center for Work and Democracy
- -
Memorial Union, Ventana (241C ) and virtually on Zoom