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NYU Research Digest- BOOKSHELF

September 28, 2012

The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story

By Edward Berenson

Yale University Press, 2012

The Statue of Liberty is arguably the most beloved and unifying of American symbols, but its history is a complicated one. In The Statue of Liberty: A Transatlantic Story, NYU professor Edward Berenson tells the little-known stories of the statue’s improbable beginnings, transatlantic connections, and meanings it has held for generations of Americans.

No one living in 1885, when the monument arrived crated in New York Harbor destined for Bedloe’s Island, could have imagined the central place it would occupy in the American imagination. In The Statue of Liberty, Berenson explores the different facets of the statue’s history while also painting a narrative composed of the period’s luminaries—among them President Grover Cleveland and Joseph Pulitzer.

Berenson is professor of history, director of the Institute of French Studies, and director of the Center for International Research in Humanities and Social Sciences. He has published in The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. His previous books include Heroes of Empire: Five Charismatic Men and the Conquest of Africa and The Trial of Madame Caillaux.

 

1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism

By Nicole Eustace

University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012

The War of 1812, the first constitutionally declared war in the history of the United States and the first war to be fought in a modern democracy, was also a conflict fueled by family-oriented appeals, New York University historian Nicole Eustace writes in her new book, 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism, which examines the role of emotion in the making of war.

 From a military and geopolitical standpoint, the U.S. accomplished little in the War of 1812. The British burned the nation’s capital, the national debt nearly tripled, and no new territory was acquired. The peace treaty signed with Britain returned all issues to the status quo antebellum. Yet, the war did give rise to what newspapers of the day called an “era of good feelings.”  

“In everything from formal political speeches to popular novels and songs, war boosters played up the idea that the war could be enjoyed as a romantic romp,” says Eustace, whose previous works include Passion Is the Gale: Emotion, Power, and the Coming of the American Revolution (University of North Carolina Press). “Pleasurable emotions shaped public opinions.”

 In 1812, proportionally few members of the U.S. population experienced fighting first-hand, Eustace observes. Instead, they read about the war in the newspapers and pamphlets that described it—yet Americans were told they had a vital role in the conflict.  

Eustace adds that an expanding population could have helped the U.S. to seize and settle new lands, while a successful war could have secured lands on which to establish new family farms.


Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry

By Tejaswini Ganti

Duke University Press, 2012

The Hindi film industry is now arguably the only other major contender with Hollywood in terms of its global popularity and influence. But “Bollywood” films and filmmakers did not see this success in the early stages of their industry’s creation. In Producing Bollywood: Inside the Contemporary Hindi Film Industry, Tejaswini Ganti, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Anthropology, explains how it gained prominence by tracing the financial and academic influences on Bollywood’s success.

She posits that Bollywood would not have been possible without neoliberal economic ideals in India, but notes other forces behind Bollywood’s rise. Ganti considers the individual filmmaker’s drive for distinction and greater social acceptance, as well as the increasing academic interest and growing international consumption of its films.

Ganti, also a professor in the Tisch School of the Arts’ Department of Cinema Studies, is the author of Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema (Routledge, 2004).

 

What’s Good for Business: Business and American Politics Since World War II

Edited by Kim Phillips-Fein
and Julian Zelizer

Oxford University Press, 2012

Critics of the U.S. Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision have pointed to the ruling as a force that has unleashed undue corporate influence on elections and governance. But in What’s Good for Business: Business and American Politics Since World War II, editors Kim Phillips-Fein and Julian Zelizer show that business has mobilized to shape public policy and government institutions, as well as electoral outcomes, for decades.

Phillips-Fein, the author of Invisible Hands: The Making of the Conservative Movement From the New Deal to Reagan, is an associate professor at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study; Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton.

The volume’s essays explore the complex evolution of the business-government relationship in several arenas—from attempts to create a corporate-friendly tax policy and regulations that would work in the interests of particular industries, to local boosterism as a weapon against New Deal liberalism, to the nexus between evangelical Christianity and the oil industry, to the frustrations that business people felt in struggles with public interest groups.

The resulting history shows business actors organizing themselves to affect government in myriad ways—often successfully, but other times with outcomes far different than they hoped for. In the end, the work presents an image of American politics that is more complex and contested than is often perceived.

Essays include: “The Liberal Invention of the Multinational Corporation”; “The Politics of Environmental Regulation”; and “Pharmaceutical Politics and Regulatory Reform in Postwar America.”

The Environmental Psychology of Prisons and Jails: Creating Humane Spaces in Secure Settings

By Richard E. Wener

Cambridge University Press, 2012

For more than 30 years, Richard E. Wener, professor of environmental psychology in NYU-Poly’s Department of Technology, Culture, and Society, has studied the way that correctional architecture affects facility operations and the behavior of staff and inmates. His findings are distilled in The Environmental Psychology of Prisons and Jails.

Wener’s research began with evaluations of the first of the “new-generation jails”—federal Metropolitan Correctional Centers in Chicago and New York with a novel design that provided markedly safer environments for pretrial inmates.

Wener uses this model, as well as findings from his subsequent evaluations of dozens of correctional facilities and large surveys as bases upon which to judge the nature of environment and behavior in correctional settings and more broadly in all human settings.

The book provides insight into reducing vandalism, stress, and violence, and presents a contextual model for the way environment influences the chances of violence.

Wener co-directs NYU-Poly’s Sustainable Urban Environments. He is a Fellow and former president of Division 34 of the American Psychological Association. In 2010, he was a Fulbright Fellow at the Vienna University of Technology.

 

Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach

By James F. Kurose and Keith W. Ross

Addison-Wesley, 2012

Computer Networking: A Top-Down Approach enters its sixth edition as the most popular textbook on computer networking both nationally and internationally and is the fifth-most popular computer science textbook overall. Read by more than 100,000 students and professors, it has been translated into 14 languages.

 Co-authors James F. Kurose, professor of computer science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Keith W. Ross, the Leonard J. Shustek Chair in Computer Science and professor and head of the computer science and engineering department at NYU-Poly, structured their textbook differently from others on the subject.

“Traditionally, the subject is taught starting with hardware and communication links and concluding with Internet applications such as social networks,” Ross explains. “Our book broke ground 12 years ago by starting with the applications and working down to the physical layer, the hardware. Students are inspired when they first learn about how networking applications work—applications such as email and the Web, which most use on a daily basis.”

A companion website offers quizzes, hands-on Wireshark labs, Python socket programming assignments, interactive Java applets, and more. Interactive homework problems allow students to generate an unlimited number of similar problems until they truly master concepts. The new edition adds material on data centers, video streaming, and trends in how ISPs connect to form one coherent worldwide Internet.

 

Understanding the Nanotechnology Revolution

By Edward L. Wolf and
Manasa Medikonda

Wiley, 2012

Understanding the Nanotechnology Revolution introduces the general reader in the simplest way possible to the concepts and devices that approach the atomic scale in size, placing them in context of earlier scientific advances.

Authored by NYU-Poly physics professor Edward L. Wolf and Manasa Medikonda, one of his master’s students who is currently pursuing her Ph.D., the book offers accessible explanations of a wide range of nanotechnology concepts and applications including biology, quantum computing, the atomic clock, global positioning systems, magnetic resonance imaging, computing, dense data storage, and the Internet.

Two textbooks on nanotechnology by Wolf have previously been cited for explaining the emerging field in an engaging manner: Quantum Nanoelectronics: An Introduction to Electronic Nanotechnology and Quantum Computing as well as Nanophysics and Nanotechnology: An Introduction to Modern Concepts in Nanoscience, which has gone into a second edition. A Fellow of the American Physical Society, Wolf is the author of more than 100 papers in solid state physics, scanning tunneling microscopy, electron tunneling spectroscopy, and superconductivity. Medikonda received her master’s degree in electrical engineering from NYU-Poly and is now studying at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at SUNY Albany.

 

 

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