Between the Covers
Recent faculty books explore art museums and why enemies are essential
The Art Museum from Boullée to Bilbao
Andrew McClellan, dean of academic affairs and professor of art history
Art museums, McClellan says, are now the most vibrant cultural institutions in the West. In this book he seeks to explain how they came to have that role and how they have changed over the last 200 years in areas ranging from architecture and display to commercialization and ownership of artifacts. For instance, he traces influences on art museum design from Étienne-Louis Boullée, the French neoclassical architect, to Frank Geary, who designed, among others, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. Controversy marks much of the progression in architecture, of course, as in most areas. (He quotes art critic Jed Perl to the effect that the new architecture, and its concomitant profit-driven culture, contributes to “the annihilation of the museum as we know it.”) But the criticism isn’t meant to be harsh: it is the best way to understand what matters, and all is given an airing in this comprehensive book.
Diet and Nutrition in Oral Health (2nd Edition)
Carole Palmer, professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and School of Dental Medicine
Dentistry is changing to meet the needs of a changing population. As people live longer, the nature and demographics of oral diseases are evolving. Oral conditions and oral infections all have nutritional implications. This paperback book is a quick reference and clinical manual for answering patient questions on these and other issues, and for learning how to integrate nutrition into clinical practice.
Fear of Enemies and Collective Action
Ioannis D. Evrigenis, assistant professor of political science
It’s an old saying, perhaps most associated with Middle Eastern politics, but in fact universal, that “an enemy of my enemy is my friend.” It’s also what Evrigenis calls “negative association,” when political groups coalesce less because of positive issues (such as a common language or religion) than because they find common cause in opposing a mutual enemy. He traces negative association’s role in Greek and Roman political thought, Machiavelli and Hobbes, all the way to the realists of the 20th century. Fear of external threats, he says, is an essential element of the formation and preservation of political groups, and its absence leads to a breakdown in political association.
An Introduction to Manifolds
Loring W. Tu, associate professor of mathematics
Manifolds, the higher-dimensional analogs of smooth curves and surfaces, are fundamental objects in modern mathematics. Combining aspects of algebra, topology and analysis, manifolds have also been applied to classical mechanics, general relativity and quantum field theory. In this introduction to the subject, the theory of manifolds is presented with the aim that readers should be able to compute, at least for simple spaces, one of the most basic topological invariants of a manifold, its de Rham cohomology. Along the way, the reader acquires the knowledge and skills necessary for further study of geometry and topology.
This story ran in the February 2008 issue of the Tufts Journal.
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