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Margaret Abraham Installed as Wachtel Professor

In recognition of a career dedicated to promoting research and social justice, Margaret Abraham, PhD, professor of sociology and senior vice provost for academic affairs, will be installed as Hofstra University’s Harry H. Wachtel Distinguished Teaching Professor for the Study of Nonviolent Social Change. The ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10, 3:30 p.m. at the Hofstra University Club, North Campus. 

Dr. Abraham has served the University in varied capacities, including special advisor to the provost for diversity initiatives, chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, and director of the Women’s Studies Program. She teaches courses and senior seminars such as Violence Against Women; Domestic Violence; Globalization, Work and Citizenship; Women, Gender, and Development; and Public Sociology. In 2014 she was elected president of the International Sociological Association (ISA) for a four-year term.

Dr. Abraham has been involved in research and activism in the fields of domestic violence and social justice for more than 25 years. Her acclaimed work as both speaker and author has been profiled and quoted in numerous domestic and international publications. She has been honored for her community action research by many organizations, including Sakhi for South Asian Women; Apna Ghar; Indus Women Leaders; Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center; Office of the Executive, Nassau County, State of New York; and Domestic Harmony Foundation, Long Island.

Sociology and Social Justice (SAGE 2019), Dr. Abraham’s newest edited book, offers sociological insights on topics ranging from social movements to cyber space and is described by Mary Romero, ASA President and Professor of Justice Studies and Social Inquiry, Arizona State University, as “a must read for anyone interested in using their teaching, research and action to build a more just society.”

The Harry H. Wachtel Distinguished Teaching Professor for the Study of Nonviolent Social Change, established at Hofstra in the late 1990s, is named for the Long Island corporate lawyer who for many years acted as a confidant and legal counsel to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. According to his obituary in The New York Times, Mr. Wachtel often met with Dr. King, traveled with him and helped arrange meetings for him with American leaders and officials, including President Lyndon B. Johnson. 

“Maggie Abraham has devoted her professional life to promoting positive social change and to ending violence,” said Professor and Chair of Hofstra’s Sociology Department William Mangino earlier this year. “She is the consummate academic who bridges scholarship, teaching, and the public good.  No one is more deserving of the Wachtel Professorship for the Study of Nonviolent Social Change.”

Dr. Abraham said, “I feel it is an immense honor, but also a sense of responsibility to carry forward the intent and legacy of the Harry H. Wachtel Distinguished Professorship.”

She is the third Hofstra faculty member to hold the Wachtel Distinguished Teaching Professorship. The first was Professor Emeritus of History Michael D’Innocenzo, who has been recognized throughout his career for his teaching, writing and community activities focused on civil rights and social justice. He was followed by Dr. Gregory Maney, who passed away in 2017. Dr. Maney was Dr. Abraham’s colleague in the Department of Sociology. His many accomplishments included collaborations with the LifeWay Network to study human trafficking in the New York metropolitan area; the Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives on creating local peace institutions; the Long Island Immigrant Alliance, on preventing and responding to hate crimes; and the Workplace Project on the human rights issues for day laborers.

“Maggie Abraham is a superb selection for the Harry H. Wachtel Distinguished Professorship for the Study of Nonviolent Social Change,” said Professor D’Innocenzo. “Because of what she has done and who she is, Maggie will reflect and extend the principled, nonviolent peace leadership that was at the core of Harry’s life and his close partnership with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.”

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