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Abraham Goldberg

Associate Professor, Political Science, James Madison University
Chapter Member: Virginia SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Abraham

Goldberg's research focuses on civic learning and engagement, American democracy, community placemaking and higher education. Embedded in all of his work is a deep commitment to building a more inclusive, just and equitable society. Goldberg previously served as director of the James Madison Center for Civic Engagement at JMU and as director of the Office of Service-Learning and Community Engagement at the University of South Carolina Upstate. He has been a Civic Fellow with AASCU’s American Democracy Project, recently served on the Educating for American Democracy initiative’s advisory board and is on the core team developing a new Virginia Civic Engagement Index.


"Let’s Get Political: Co-Creating and Assessing Civic Learning and Engagement" (with Carah Lynn Ong Whaley and Dena A. Pastor). Political Science & Politics 55, no. 2 (2022): 398-400.

Discusses political science and politics.

"Can We Get an Upgrade? How Two College Campuses Are Building the Democracy We Aspire To Be" (with Carah Lynn Ong Whaley, Suzanne M. Chod, William Muck, and Dena Pastor), in Teaching Civic Engagement Globally, edited by E.C. Matto, A.R.M. McCartney, E.A. Bennion, A. Blair, T. Sun, and D. Whitehead (American Political Science Association, 2021), 209-225.

Addresses how a small private liberal arts college in a major metropolitan area and a large comprehensive university in a rural area of the United States advance and assess civic learning and engagement initiatives in a time when democracy is being threatened. 

"Renewing Civil Society: Madison's Legacy" (with Jonathan Alger), in Democracy, Civic Engagement, and Citizenship in Higher Education, edited by W.V. Flores and K. Rogers (Lanham Lexington Books, 2019), 105-118.

Takes a hard look at the state of American democracy today through the lens of one of the nation’s most important actors: colleges and universities. Explains democracy is more than voting: it includes a wide range of democratic practices and depends on a culture of civic participation.

"Happiness and Health Across the Lifespan in Five Major Cities: The Impact of Place and Government Performance" (with Michael J.Hogan, Kevin M.Leyden, Ronan Conway, Deirdre Walsh, and Phoebe E. McKenna-Plumleya). Social Science & Medicine 162 (2016): 168-176.

Examines the direct and indirect effects of the city environment on happiness. Hypothesizes that citizens’ ratings of their city along dimensions of performance (e.g., basic – usually government – services related to education, healthcare, social services, and policing) and place (e.g., the beauty of the city and a built environment that provides access to cultural, sport, park, transport, and shopping amenities) would be significant predictors of happiness but that the nature of these effects would change over the lifespan.

"The Built Environment of Communities and Social Capital" (with Kevin K. Leyden), in Social Capital at the Community Level An Applied Interdisciplinary Perspective, edited by J. Halstead and S. Deller (Routledge, 2015), 31-43.

Examines social capital formation beyond the individual level through a variety of disciplines: planning, economics, regional development, sociology, as well as non-traditional approaches like engineering and built environmental features.