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Margaret Abraham - Hofstra University. Hempstead, NY, US

Margaret Abraham Margaret Abraham

Professor of Sociology | Hofstra University


Margaret Abraham's research specializes in domestic violence, gender studies, and the South Asian Diaspora.






Journeys Through Sociology: Margaret Abraham Gurmeet K. Sodhi with Margaret Abraham Prof. of Sociology (Hofstra Univ) Margaret Abraham - Domestic Violence: Dare to Speak Its Name




Margaret Abraham is Professor of Sociology at Hofstra University and is the President of the International Sociological Association, (ISA 2014-2018). She previously served as ISA Vice President of Research and as the American Sociological Association Representative (ASA) to the ISA (2010-2014). Her teaching and research interests include gender, ethnicity, globalization, migration and domestic violence. Courses that she teaches include senior seminars on "Violence Against Women" and "Globalization, Work and Citizenship" (Soc 191); Women, Gender and Development (soc 32) and Public Sociology (Soc191). Margaret has published in various journals including Gender & Society, Violence Against Women, Indian Journal of Gender Studies and Social Justice. She is the author of Speaking the Unspeakable: Marital Violence Among South Asian Immigrants in the United States (Rutgers University press 2000), the first book on domestic violence within the South Asian diaspora in the United States and won the American Sociological Association: Section on Asian and Asian America Outstanding Book Award in 2002. She also co-edited, Contours of Citizenship: Women, Diversity and the Practices of Citizenship published by Ashgate (Spring 2010); and Making a Difference: Linking Research and Action (Current Sociology Monograph:SAGE 2012).

Margaret has been involved in research and activism in the field of domestic violence in the South Asian immigrant community for over 20 years. She serves on the editorial boards of journals and has been an advisory board member and consultant on national projects related to issues on violence against women. She served on the Board of Directors of Sakhi for South Asian Women and the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS (APICHA) and Westbury Friends School in Long Island, New York. Margaret has been honored for her community action research by several organizations including Sakhi for South Asian Women, Apna Ghar in Chicago, Domestic Harmony Foundation, Indus Women Leaders, the Indian American Kerala Cultural and Civic Center, and the Office of the Executive, Nassau County, State of New York. In 2013 she received the Sociologists for Women in Society Feminist Activism Award. Her work has been profiled and quoted in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, India Abroad, Malayalam Pathram, India Today, Indiathink.com, and Rip Rap: The Academic Book Program.

Industry Expertise (2)



Areas of Expertise (6)






Domestic Violence

Accomplishments (5)

Feminist Activism Award (professional)

Awarded by the Sociologists for Women in Society.

Outstanding Community Advocate Award (professional)

Awarded by the Domestic Harmony Foundation.

American Association of Indian Social Workers Award (professional)

Awarded by the American Association of Indian Social Workers.

President of the International Sociological Association (professional)

2014-2018 term. Founded in 1949 under the auspices of UNESCO, ISA is a non-profit association for scientific purposes. Its function is to represent sociologists everywhere, regardless of their school of thought, scientific approaches or ideological opinion. ISA’s membership spans 167 countries.

Published books (professional)

Margaret Abraham is the author of Speaking the Unspeakable: Marital Violence Among South Asian Immigrants in the United States, the first book on domestic violence in the US South Asian community, where she coined the term "SAWO: South Asian Women's Organization."

Education (3)

Syracuse University: Ph.D., Sociology 1989

Delhi School of Economics: M.A., Sociology 1984

Delhi University: B.A. (Hons), Sociology 1982

Affiliations (2)

  • Elected president of the International Sociological Association (2014-2018 term)
  • She served on the Board of Directors of Sakhi for South Asian Women and the Asian Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS (APICHA) and Westbury Friends School in Long Island, New York.

Media Appearances (3)

44th All-India Sociological Conference begins in Mysuru

The Hindu (India)  online


Professor of Sociology Margaret Abraham was noted as the inaugural speaker of 44th All-India Sociological Conference, according to an article in The Hindu, one of India’s largest English daily newspapers. She spoke about the need for sociologists to examine issues of inequality and injustice.

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Amid the Isolation, Finally, a Friend; A Movement to Confront Hidden Abuse in Immigrant Families

The New York Times  print


Statistically, Indians have the best educations and earn the most money among new Americans. They enjoy an annual wage almost double the national average, and wield buying power of as much as $20 billion each year, according to the news magazine India Today. But Dr. Abraham was troubled by something not readily discussed among South Asians here, the domestic violence that arrived in the social baggage of migrants from the Indian subcontinent. She began to wrestle intellectually with what she called ''the myth of the model minority.'' ''Any strong community is one that celebrates and takes pride in its achievements, but also acknowledges and takes action against its social problems,'' she said. ''That makes for a stronger community.'' In most of South Asia, the status of women, Hindu and Muslim, is measurably the lowest in the world.

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Enduring Violence In a New Home

The New York Times  print


"For South Asians, marriage is not just a relationship between a husband and wife, but also between their families," said Margaret Abraham, a sociologist at Hofstra University who is researching marital violence among South Asians. "This adds to the pressure to be perfect, not just as a wife but also a daughter-in-law or sister-in-law. There is also this notion that a woman is the guardian of the family honor. If she were beaten up and complained about it, she would be bringing shame on the family."

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Event Appearances (1)

Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color

A Research Agenda for the Next Decade  The White House - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dL88wRhAuJU


Research Focus (1)

Gender, ethnicity,

globalization, migration and domestic violence.

Research Grants (1)

Margaret Abraham is honored to receive many awards and recognitions for her research, activism and leadership.

Selected fellowships and grants 

The Sydney S. Spivack Program in Applied Social Research and Social Policy Community Action Grant Seen and Sheltered: Effective Responses to NIMBYISM 2007-2008 (co-recipient). International Sociological Association - Research Committees Grant: 2007 (co-recipient). Hofstra University Presidential Research Award for 2007-2008, 2006-2007, 2005-2006. Hofstra University, Center for Scholarly Research & Academic Excellence Grant 2007-08, 2005-06. Asian Studies Supplemental Research Hofstra University 2004-2005, 2003-2004, 2002-2003.

Courses (1)



Articles (3)

The Intersections of Protest Suicides, Oppression and Social Justice

Sociologies in Dialogue

2015 This paper focuses on protest suicides that highlight oppression and influence collective action for social justice and change. A few cases and contexts of protest suicides from the 1960s onwards are used to demonstrate this intersectionality. I address two types of protest suicides: first, the protest public suicide that is predominantly ...

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Introduction: Making a Difference: Linking Research and Action in Practice, Pedagogy and Policy for Social Justice.

Current Sociology

2012 The origins and chronology of linking research and action are complex and cannot be attributed to any single discipline or any part of the world. People within and outside academe have linked research and action. In this introductory article, we begin by briefly tracing the methodological background to linking research and action, ...

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Transforming Place and Belonging through Action Research, Community Practice, and Public Policy: Comparing Responses to NIMBYism

Current Sociology

2012 While solidifying class inequalities on a transnational basis, corporate globalization often disrupts power regimes locally. Such disruptions can generate site-specific contention across social differences that solidify the physical marginalization or exclusion of less powerful groups at the local level. In the United States one form of local ...

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