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Profs. Manta and Niedt Honored with Stessin Prizes for Outstanding Scholarly Publications

Irina Manta, Christopher Neidt
Irina Manta, Christopher Neidt

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Herman A. Berliner has announced the recipients of this year’s Lawrence A. Stessin Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication. The prize was established in the 1984-85 academic year to recognize the scholarly efforts of junior faculty.

2013-2014 Recipients:

Irina D. Manta, J.D., Associate Professor, Maurice A. Deane School of Law

“Hedonic Trademarks”

Ohio State Law Journal, Vol. 74, 241-283 (2013)


Most scholars draw a clear distinction between “pure” experiences of trademarked goods as opposed to “altered” experiences, with the latter representing the mindsets of consumers after trademark owners have influenced them via advertising and other devices. Professor Irina Manta’s article “Hedonic Trademarks” argues, however, that this setup resembles the decision between the red pill and the blue pill in the movie The Matrix — with one standing for the “truth” about trademarked products and the other a “fake reality” filled with manufactured perceptions about goods — and is actually a false choice. Rather, in today’s world, many goods and their brands have become closely tied with one another and consumers experience the two together. This suggests that some of the trademark doctrines like dilution that have traditionally been viewed as protecting producers only might in fact also protect the consumers of the original products, who would appreciate these products less in the presence of goods that blur the original brands. In this context, deeper empirical exploration of this subject matter is likely to become an important source of information in drawing the boundaries of trademark law.

Christopher W. Niedt, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Sociology, Hofstra College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Academic Director of the National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University

“Legal Geographies – The Politics of Eminent Domain: From False Choices to Community Benefits”

Urban Geography, Vol. 34, No. 8, 1047-1069 (2013)


Dr. Niedt explains what theories of the state, race, and capitalism reveal about how eminent domain works in cities and suburbs.  He critiques libertarian proposals that privilege homeowner rights, attack eminent domain’s “private” character, and propose limiting its use to “purely public” takings. Restricting eminent domain to narrow “public uses” disregards diminished state capacity. Condemning “private takings” ignores the “private” character of planning generally. Prioritizing the rights of owners divides communities, and leaves renters (and small businesses) vulnerable. Relying on the ownership model of property undermines alternative forms of ownership and control, and ignores multiscalar and group interests in property. Professor Niedt concludes that these proposals to reduce the government’s eminent domain powers are unlikely to lead to more equitable forms of planning.  Rather than curtailing eminent domain, he suggests that approaches like community benefits agreements should be refined to ensure that redevelopment’s benefits are widely shared across communities.

Professor Manta and Dr. Niedt will be recognized at the 2014 undergraduate commencement on Sunday, May 18, 2014, at the David S. Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.

Dr. Lawrence A. Stessin was a journalist who joined the Hofstra University faculty as a professor of management in 1958 and served continuously until his retirement in 1973. After graduation from the Columbia University School of Journalism he worked at The New York Times as a columnist and later as an associate editor of Forbes Magazine. Dr. Stessin also published in a wide range of scholarly and academic media. During his lifetime and as part of his will, Dr. Stessin made substantial contributions to Hofstra University, including his contribution to the Endowment Fund, which led to the establishment of this Stessin Prize.


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