of Social Change and Development
Criminology and Criminal Justice, Environment
and Society, Political Economy, Sociological Theory
Andrew Austin was born
in 1962, in Bolivar, West Tennessee to Benjamin Snell Austin,
a Church of Christ preacher, and Gloria Jean Wright, an
elementary school teacher. The family settled in the
small town of Roger Springs
Benjamin and Gloria were civil rights
activists and, later, opponents of the Vietnam War. They
dedicated much of their time to working with rural blacks and
protesting the war. Predictably, their
political activism led to
acts of intimidation against the family by right-wing forces.
In 1963, after the Ku
Klux Klan repeatedly threatened them with violence, the family
was forced to flee West Tennesse. They settled in
Sharpsville, a small town in Middle Tennessee, where Benjamin
established a new ministry. In 1969, the
family was cast out of the church and driven from their home by
members of the congregation who disagreed with the family's
Unwilling to compromise his message with the
demands of the church he loved, Benjamin left the ministry in
1970. He turned to academia and became a professor of sociology. Gloria
also returned to college, earning her
PhD in clinical psychology and becoming a university professor.
Andrew was an ordinary
student, preferring art and music to scholastics.
Idolizing artists Jack Kirby and Mike Ploog, an early ambition
of his was to draw and write comic books. Then
Benjamin bought a Sears Silvertone guitar in
the 1960s. Andrew began performing professionally at the
age of 16.
During a successful
music career, Andrew composed dozens of songs, produced several studio and
live recordings, some of which were publicly
released, and performed at numerous concerts, showcases, and
benefits throughout the southern and midwestern United States.
Andrew retired from paid public performances on his thirtieth
birthday, keeping a promise he made his grandmother when he was
a teenager. He has recently embarked on a project to digitally restore his
recordings and document his music career. He is now
performing live again.
Andrew entered college
in 1988, earning a bachelor of science in 1993
and a master of arts degree in 1995. He turned his
experience in music into his master thesis,
producing a detailed examination of thrash-mosh culture.
After teaching on the faculty of Middle Tennessee State
University for a year, Andrew entered the PhD program at the
University of Tennessee where, in 2000, he earned his PhD in
Sociology with an emphasis in criminology and political economy.
His dissertation, Caste, Class, and Justice, was a two-volume account of class and racial patterns of criminal
justice in the United States. Before leaving the program,
he was named the recipient of the Outstanding Graduate Student
of 2000 award.
joined the faculty of Social Change and
Development and Sociology at the University of
Wisconsin-Green Bay in 2000. In addition to teaching courses in
the social sciences, Andrew directs the Law and Justice Studies emphasis
and coordinates the department’s internship program.
Andrew's areas of interest and scholarship are crime and justice, environmental sociology,
and political sociology. He has published
numerous articles, essays, and reviews in books and journals,
and has chaired, presented, and
had papers read at more than a dozen professional
Andrew was awarded the Sociological Spectrum Best Article prize
for a paper he published on the anti-environmental
countermovement. In 2006, he traveled to Amman, Jordan,
where he lectured on the politicization of religion at the
United Nations University. He returned to Jordan in April of
2007 to lecture on democracy and human rights.
Andrew is married to
Mona Elisabet and has two children. The family lives in
the city of Green Bay.