Abigail Bakan

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Bakan at a public debate

Abigail "Abbie" B. Bakan (born 1954[1]) is a former Professor of Political Studies at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She was a professor from 1998 to 2013 after being an associate and then assistant professor at the university from 1985 until 1998. From 2011 to 2013 she served as Head of the Department of Gender Studies at the university. In the summer of 2013, Bakan was appointed Chair of the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto.[2] Her research focuses on employment equity, Marxist theory and "anti-oppression politics".[3]

In a protest held in Toronto on July 29, 2006, Bakan criticized the Government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper for supporting "Israel's illegal action against the Lebanese and Palestinian people."[4] In a debate held at York University on May 11, 2009, Bakan and Ryerson University professor Alan Sears spoke in support of a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. The York's Excalibur newspaper reported that Bakan's comments were interpreted by some as calling for a boycott of individual Israeli academics.[5] Bakan argues that condemning academic sanctions on the grounds that it politicizes a free and objective learning space is futile because institutions are inherently political. Bakan also argued that there is no other option but to boycott on an academic platform because boycotts allow us to “hear a voice that has been almost completely suppressed in Western world democracies. In the tradition of civil rights, we have to hear that call."[6]

Educated at York University, Bakan has written and edited several books including:

  • Negotiating Citizenship: Migrant Women in Canada and the Global System, co-authored with Daiva Stasiulis, University of Toronto Press, 2005.
  • Critical Political Studies: Debates and Dialogues from the Left, co-edited with Eleanor MacDonald, McGill-Queen's University Press, 2003, ISBN 0-7735-2252-2
  • Not One of the Family: Foreign Domestic Workers in Canada, co-edited with Daiva Stasiulis, University of Toronto Press, 1997, ISBN 0-8020-7595-9
  • Imperial Power and Regional Trade: The Caribbean Basin Initiative, co-edited with David Cox and Colin Leys, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1993, ISBN 0-88920-220-6
  • Ideology and Class Conflict in Jamaica: The Politics of Rebellion, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990, ISBN 0-7735-0745-0

Bakan is the daughter of psychologist and academic David Bakan and philosopher and academic Mildred Bakan. She is the cousin of law professor Joel Bakan and ethnomusicologist Michael Bakan.


  1. ^ Library of Congress Name Authority File
  2. ^ "Dr. Abigail Bakan to lead OISE's Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and Social Justice Education". About OISE. July 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-08. Retrieved 2008-09-09. 
  4. ^ Protesters condemn Harper's stance on conflict[permanent dead link] by CTV.ca News Staff, CTV News, July. 30 2006.
  5. ^ The Middle-East debate rages on at York[permanent dead link] by Scott McLean, Excalibur Web edition, York University, May 13, 2009.
  6. ^ Profs debate merits of academic boycott Archived April 30, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. by Katia Dmitrieva, Ryerson Free Press, June 3, 2009.