Zinn to receive Havens Center award

October 4, 2006

Acclaimed historian, playwright and social activist Howard Zinn will receive the A.E. Havens Center’s Award for Lifetime Contribution to Critical Scholarship on Thursday, Oct. 5.

Zinn is the second scholar to receive the Havens Center award, the first having gone to Frances Fox Piven in 2004. The award is given to a scholar with a distinguished and extensive record of scholarly achievement in the critical tradition of social thought.

The award ceremony and Zinn’s lecture, “The Uses of History and the War on Terrorism,” are free to the public and will take place at 7 p.m. in Madison’s Orpheum Theatre, 216 State St. They will be preceded by “An Evening with Zinn” reception at 5 p.m. in the Orpheum Lobby Restaurant, with part of the proceeds benefiting the Havens Center.

“Many people accept the view that the United States is the land of rugged individualism and its history is the story of the triumph of individual liberty and the entrepreneurial spirit,” according to Erik Olin Wright, Havens Center director. “No one has done more than Howard Zinn to demonstrate that American history is also pervasively marked by popular struggles for democracy, equality and social justice, and American values and traditions by a concern for the common good.”

Wright added that Zinn’s “ceaseless efforts at recovering this history and disseminating it widely have been of extraordinary value to everyone engaged in the struggle for a more just and humane future.”

Zinn has authored or edited nearly three dozen books. His writings shine light on and bring voice to factory workers, immigrant laborers, African Americans, Native Americans and the working poor. He is perhaps best known for his million-selling classic “A People’s History of the United States,” which presents American history through the eyes of those he feels are outside of the political and economic establishment.

His latest book, due out soon, is “A Power Governments Cannot Suppress,” a major new collection of essays on American history, class, immigration, justice and ordinary citizens who have made a difference. He has received the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Upton Sinclair Award and the Lannan Literary Award.

Established in the UW–Madison sociology department in 1984, the A. E. Havens Center for the Study of Social Structure and Social Change is dedicated to promoting critical intellectual reflection and exchange, both within the academy as well as between it and the broader society.