December 7, 2016

Making a List, Checking It Twice: Recent Books from The New School Community

Below is a far-from-exhaustive collection of intriguing works published during the past 12 months by members of the New School community. They caught our attention, and might merit yours, too.

A Place for Us: West Side Story and New York  

by Julia Foulkes, Professor of History

West Side Story is an updating of Shakespeare vividly realized in a rapidly changing postwar New York.

Foulkes interweaves the story of the creation of the musical and film with the remaking of the Upper West Side and the determination of the show’s creators to evoke life in New York as it was actually lived, while putting forward a vision of a new, vigorous, determinedly multicultural American city

Beyond the Kale: Urban Agriculture and Social Justice Activism in New York City

coauthored by Kristin Reynolds, educator on urban food systems and environmental policy

Urban agriculture is increasingly considered an important part of creating just and sustainable cities. Yet realizing social and environmental justice requires moving beyond food production to address deeper issues such as structural racism, gender inequity, and economic disparities

Blue Hallelujahs

by Cynthia Manick, MFA ’07

When Cynthia describes her poetry in Blue Hallelujahs she says it asks the question: if you’re breathing, what makes you alive? Is it family, sex, blues, gender, race, or is it the way the body interacts with the world? It could be any and all of those things but we enter every dark place with our hands, eyes, and then the body follows. 

Capitalism: Competition, Conflict and Crisis

by Anwar Shaikh, Professor of Economics
Based on 15 years of research, Shaikh documents how standard economic assumptions about competition and rational expectations don’t reflect reality.

Instead, he develops theory from real behavior and real competition, to offer an alternative framework for understanding the economics of capitalism.

Capturing the City: Photographs from the Streets of St. Louis

co-authored by Joseph Heathcott, Associate Professor of Urban Studies

The book showcases thousands of images of the Gateway City in the early 20th century. Taken for the city’s Street Department, they  unintentionally caught richly detailed scenes of everyday life. 

Democracy’s Infrastructure Techno-Politics & Protest After Apartheid

by Antina von Schnitzler, Assistant Professor of International Affairs

Von Schnitzler explores a controversial project to install prepaid water meters in Soweto—one of many efforts to curb the nonpayment of service charges that began during the antiapartheid struggle This investigation of democracy reframes the conventional story of South Africa’s transition, foregrounding the less visible remainders of apartheid and challenging readers to think in more material terms about citizenship and activism and how seemingly mundane technological domains become charged territory..

Ecological and Social Healing

including a contribution by Ana Baptista, Assistant Professor in the Environmental Policy & Sustainability Management Program

This book collects essays by 15 women who are prominent academics, writers, and leaders spanning Native American, Indigenous, Asian, African, Latina, Jewish and multiracial backgrounds. The contributors express a myriad of ways that the relationship between the ecological and social have brought new understanding to their experiences and work in the world. 

Housekeeping by Design: Hotels and Labor

by David Brody, Associate Professor of Design Studies

One of the great pleasures of staying in a hotel is spending time in a spotless, neat, and organized space that you don’t have to clean. That doesn’t, however, mean the work disappears—when we’re not looking, someone else is doing it. David Brody introduces us to those people—the housekeepers whose labor keeps the rooms clean and the guests happy. He shows us just how much work goes on behind the scenes—and how much management goes out of its way to make sure that labor stays hidden. 

How It Feels to Fly

by Kathryn Holmes, MFA ’10

Following a series of crippling anxiety attacks, Sam is sent to a treatment camp for teens struggling with mental and emotional obstacles. Forced to open up to complete strangers, Sam must get through the program if she wants to attend a crucial ballet intensive later in the summer. This compelling story from Kathryn Holmes examines one girl’s efforts to overcome her worst enemy: herself.

How to Retire with Enough Money

by Teresa Ghilarducci, Professor of Economics

Dr. Ghilarducci, an expert on retirement and savings, cuts through the confusion, misinformation, and bad policy-making that keeps us spending or saving poorly. She offers an easy-to-follow program to determine how to save, make your money grow, and get current expenses under control.


by Marc Bojanowski, MFA ’03

Nolan Jackson is a journeyman carpenter by trade and an itinerant by nature.  While passing through his brother's town, an unexpected accident forces him to stay put. Bereft of his car and his tools, with only the little-used and much-neglected mechanisms of his heart, Nolan turns to the task of building the foundations of a meaningful life.

King of the Worlds

by Thomas Gammarino, MFA ’05

Dylan had always wanted to live as many lives as he could—that was the appeal of being an actor. But at the end of a brief stint as a Hollywood heartthrob, Dylan exiles himself and his wife to a recently settled exoplanet called New Taiwan. There encounters a cast of extraordinary characters: a supercomputer with aspirations of godhood, a Mormon-fundamentalist superfan, an old-school psychoanalyst, a sampling of his alternate selves, and, once again, the love of his lives.

New York City’s Best Public Pre-K & Elementary Schools

by Clara Hemphill and Lydie Raschka, Insideschools, Center for New York City Affairs

For nearly two decades, parents have looked to Clara Hemphill, director of education policy at the Center for New York City Affairs and founder of the InsideSchools project, for guidance on finding good public schools for their children. This fourth edition parents’ guide, co-authored with InsideSchools staffer Lydie Raschka, features all-new reviews of more than 150 schools.

Of Being Dispersed

by Simone White, MFA'06

Probing the relationship between blackness and displacement, White shares through poetry that the creation of a personal identity does not happen in a melting pot, but rather in a compressor. As she slips in and out of forms, dialects, and registers, White demonstrates that various cultural influences collide in a single individual, producing an ever-shifting foundation.


by Jade Sharma, MFA'12

Maya is a young woman with a smart mouth, time to kill, and a heroin hobby that isn't much fun anymore. Maya's been able to get by in New York on her wits and a dead-end bookstore job for years, but when her husband leaves her and her favorite professor ends their affair, her barely calibrated life descends into chaos, and she has to make some choices. 

Shiny Broken Pieces

by Sona Charaipotra MFA ’03 and Dhonielle Clayton MFA ’12

June, Bette, and Gigi are competing one final time for a spot at the prestigious American Ballet Company. With the stakes higher than ever, these girls have everything to lose…and no one is playing nice. It all comes down to this last dance. Who will make the cut? And who will lose her dream forever?


by Kalisha Buckhannon, MFA’03

Solemn Redvine is a precocious Mississippi girl who senses a neighbor's baby may be her half-sibling. Her life is further disrupted when her father is arrested, landing Solemn in a group home for troubled girls. There, she meets a girl from Chicago who wants to escape. Solemn must face the truth of who she really is and what she is really made of.


by Stephanie Danler, MFA ’14 

The novel concerns Tess, a woman who moves from the Ohio to New York City, where she becomes a waitress without any other career goals. During her time in the city, Tess enters into a love triangle with two other employees at the restaurant at which she works: Jake, a bartender, and Simone, an older waitress, and learns a great deal about food.

The Feminism of Uncertainty: A Gender Diary

by Ann Snitow, Senior Lecturer in Liberal Studies & Associate Professor of Literature

The Feminism of Uncertainty brings together Ann Snitow’s passionate, provocative dispatches from 40 years on the frontlines of feminist activism and thought. Her pieces on international activism, sexuality, motherhood, and the waywardness of political memory all engage feminism’s impossible contradictions—and its utopian hopes. 

The Self Help Myth.jpeg

The Self-Help Myth: How Philanthropy Fails to Alleviate Poverty

by Erica Kohl-Arenas, Assistant Professor of Nonprofit Management

Kohl-Arenas bores deeply into how philanthropy, inequality, and anti-poverty programs play out in California’s Central Valley, which is one of the wealthiest agricultural production regions in the world and also home to the poorest people in the United States.

The Hopefuls

by Jennifer Close, MFA ’06

The Hopefuls tells the story of a young wife who follows her husband and his political dreams to Washington, D.C., a city of idealism, gossip, and complicated friendships among the young aspiring elite.