Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a sociologist now at Duke University, has been a major voice in defining the nature of racism in the post-Civil Rights Era. His book, Racism without Racists, illuminates how policing and the criminal justice system perpetuate racial inequality. His 1997 article, "Rethinking Racism: Towards a Structural Interpretation," has shaped the thinking of both scholars and activists.
Understanding how the transgender movement challenges essentialist analyses of gender formation and rights.
Susan Stryker, professor of Gender and Women's Studies at the University of Arizona, is a pioneering theorist and activist in the movement to achieve dignity and social justice for transgender people. Trained as an historian, her writings expose how easily feminists and gay activists can reinforce the marginalization of transgender people.
Proving that cities and states can raise the minimum wage without an economic downside.
Michael Reich, an economist at U.C. Berkeley and his co-authors have done important studies showing the feasibility and desirability of increasing the minimum wage. Careful research has undermined the common claim that minimum wage increases destroy jobs.
Dissecting immigration enforcement to find space for reform.
Hiroshi Motomura, Susan Westerberg Prager Professor of Law at UCLA, has made important contributions to the struggle for immigrant rights in the United States. His analyses of discretion in immigration enforcement has influenced both the movement and the Obama Administration.
Developing the knowledge base for the movement to end sweatshops.
Edna Bonacich and Richard Appelbaum, sociologists at UC Riverside and Santa Barbara, have combined research and activism to change overseas apparel and footwear sweatshops. With other faculty, university administrators, United Students Against Sweatshops, and the Workers' Rights Consortium, they have exerted pressure for better wages and working conditions. This piece from 2000, written with several co-authors, lays out a strategic perspective for these efforts.