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Andrew Austin

Associate Professor 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 activism.
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. 
Andrew 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 conferences. 
In 2002, 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.