Abraham Khan receives Wallace Award from National Communication Association

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Abraham Khan, Laurence and Lynne Brown-McCourtney Early Career Professor in the College of the Liberal Arts, has received the Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award from the National Communications Association (NCA). He will accept the award during the association’s 105th annual convention, which will take place in Baltimore in November.

Abraham Khan, assistant professor of African American studies and communication arts and sciences, has been named the inaugural Laurence and Lynne Brown-McCourtney Early Career Professor in the College of the Liberal Arts. Credit: Penn State / Penn StateCreative Commons

NCA is a scholarly society whose mission is “to advance Communication as the discipline that studies all forms, modes, media, and consequences of communication through humanistic, social scientific, and aesthetic inquiry.” According to NCA, Khan was “unanimously selected to receive this year’s award,” which is given to foster and promote philosophical, historical or critical scholarship in rhetoric and public discourse. The award is presented to scholars who have completed their doctorate within the past 10 years or who are well advanced in doctoral studies in rhetoric and public address. The award comes with a plaque and a grant-in aid to fund future research.

Khan holds joint faculty appointments in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences and the Department of African American Studies. He is a rhetorical scholar who specializes in research on civic engagement and African American politics and social life, with a particular emphasis on black athletes and the history of sports in the United States. He holds a doctorate in communication studies from the University of Minnesota.

“The Karl R. Wallace Award is a major honor, which recognizes both the quality and the significance of Professor Khan’s scholarship,” said Denise Haunani Solomon, head of the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences. “Professor Khan’s expertise in civic engagement and African American politics and social life, and his particular emphasis on black athletes, has placed him at the center of very important conversations about political activism and race. The project recognized by this award builds upon his work on the history of sports in the United States in ways that underscore the global importance of sport as an agency of social and political change.” Solomon was named a 2019 Distinguished Scholar by NCA and will join Khan at the NCA awards ceremony in November.

Khan said he will use the funding from the award to support a project titled “the Significance of Soccer in South Africa: Democracy and Rhetorical Practice in the Makana Football Association.” The Makana Football Association was a soccer organization founded by inmates at Robben Island prison during the time of apartheid in South Africa in the 1960s. 

“NCA has thousands of members, so It’s an extraordinary honor to receive one of the few association-wide awards for rhetorical scholarship,” said Khan. “Though I am grateful to be recognized for my accomplishments, I am even more excited about what the Wallace award means for the study of sport and race in communication studies more broadly. Most of all, when I see that the list of previous winners includes so many Penn State faculty and alums, I am humbled by the opportunity to extend a tradition of scholarly excellence.”

Last Updated September 23, 2019