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Good Reads: Fascinating Faculty Tomes

November 9, 2022

Recent books authored by SU faculty showcase their diversity and expertise.

Seattle University is home to exceptional faculty-scholars who not only make SU a great teaching university but also are leaders in their fields, penning papers and writing and editing books in a variety of topics.

Here’s a look at four recent literary offerings by our faculty:

The Effect: An Introduction to Research Design and Causality by Nick Huntington-Klein, PhD

People often want to know how one thing causes another. Does smoking cause cancer? Does the minimum wage reduce poverty? Does education increase intelligence? Causal inference is a field all about answering these questions, even in scenarios where you can’t run a randomized experiment. The Effect is an introduction to the field that’s high on intuition as opposed to mathematics, showing readers how to figure out when one can take causal claims seriously and how to conduct their own research.

“I wrote this book because I think causal reasoning and research is important,” says Nick Huntington-Klein, assistant professor of economics at Albers School of Business and Economics. “I want people to be able to reason through which correlations are causal and how we can isolate causal effects, intuitively understanding exactly what they’re doing without having to blindly trust complex mathematical algorithms. I wanted to write a book that was as relevant to journalists and consumers of causal claims as it is to people actually doing causal inference research.”

The Effect can be read for free here.  

Living Proof: Stories of Resilience Along the Mathematical Journey by Allison Henrich, PhD

Living Proof is a collection of 41 stories written by highly successful mathematicians about times they struggled in their math education or career. These stories are intended to provide support and inspiration to math students who are struggling themselves by making it clear that nobody—not even Fields medalists and presidents of major mathematical societies—has sailed through their mathematical lives without facing roadblocks. The book won the Euler Book Prize from the Mathematical Association of America.

“My co-editors and I initially created the book because we had students who were having a difficult time in their math classes who assumed it was because they weren’t capable of doing math,” explains Mathematics Professor Allison Heinrich. “So, we thought that if we could get enough highly successful mathematicians of all sorts to write about the challenges they’ve faced, our students would realize that their struggles don’t mean that they’re incapable. Their struggles are merely indications that what they’re trying to do is hard and sometimes there are systems in place that make learning and advancing even harder for some than for others.”

Living Proof is available for download from both the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society.

Imagining Central America: Short Histories by Serena Cosgrove, PhD, and Isabeau J. Belisle Dempsey

Each of the chapters of Imagining Central America by Associate Professor and Director of Latin American Studies Serena Cosgrove, PhD, focuses on a different country within Central America—Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. Each chapter also includes a recommended reading list of novels and academic sources for readers who want to learn more about the key events and themes within individual countries.

Cosgrove is the faculty coordinator of Seattle University’s Central America Initiative.

Copycat Crime: How Media, Technology, and Digital Culture Inspire Criminal Behavior and Violence (Spring, 2023) by Jacqueline B. Helfgott, PhD

Copycat Crime includes a review of theory and research from multiple disciplines, development of a theoretical framework for understanding copycat and media-mediated crime and an explanation of how and why understanding copycat crime matters for criminology and criminal justice. The book also examines civil and criminal court cases involving copycat crime, case studies, what can be done to mitigate the effects of violent media and discussion of future research and implications.

“The book is a by-product of a course I have taught at Seattle University for many years called Murder, Movies and Copycat Crime,” says Professor of Criminal Justice Jacqueline Helfgott, PhD. “I wrote the book because there are few scholars focused on the topic. It’s been difficult to convey to students what copycat crime is and the importance of understanding media, technology and digital culture as a risk factor for criminal behavior and violence.”

Helfgott is the director of the Crime & Justice Research Center.

To learn more about Seattle University faculty and their areas of expertise check out our faculty experts.