Professor David Abraham Receives Grant from the German Academic Exchange Service


David AbrahamProfessor David Abraham is on fire. 

Not only was Abraham’s book chapter, "Law and Migration: Many Constants, Few Changes" in Migration Theory: Talking Across Disciplines, unanimously selected by the book chapter award committee of the American Political Science Association as the winner for 2014, he has also recently been awarded a prestigious grant.  

Abraham will be spending the Fall in Berlin doing research on a multifaceted project on circumcision on a German Academic Exchange Service grant. 

Three years ago, a district court in Germany found the practice of circumcision of young males to be a form of child abuse and medical malpractice. The Parliament subsequently declared circumcision non-punishable, but the debate unleashed a torrent of legal and policy issues. This was especially the case since circumcision belongs to the religious practice of both Germany’s recovering Jewish population and its large and growing Muslim immigrant population and is the product of parental consent.  

“Circumcision as a topic is a tough nut to crack,” Abraham said. “It means an awful lot to the communities that do it and is often reviled by those who don’t. In pluralist or multicultural societies, it poses real challenges to our views of child welfare, religious liberty, public health, and immigrant integration. Germany and the United States are the two best places I can think of to pursue these issues.”

Abraham’s project will address the four key issues raised by this controversy: Germany’s relations with its Muslim immigrants and citizens; Germany’s relations with its Jewish minority; differences between German and American views of the relationship among parents, child, and state; and differences between German and American medical thinking and practice in this area. 

 Abraham will be presented the award at the APSA’s annual convention in San Francisco in September before leaving for Berlin.

“I think what social scientists involved with migration find interesting about the law is the unique mix of research discipline on the one hand and sovereign regulatory power on the other,” Abraham said. “This essay looked at some of today’s most burning issues through the dual analytic and normative lens.”