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Women Designers in the USA, 1900–2000: Diversity and Difference

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Using Women Designers in the USA, 1900–2000: Diversity and Difference (2000, Yale University Press/BGC, edited by Pat Kirkham) as a set text, this course surveys the emergence of women designers and their contributions to 20th-century American design. All the main areas of design are covered, from fashion to furniture and from ceramics to garden and landscape design. The course considers designed objects; education and training; issues of “ethnicity,” class, age, etc.; the professionalization and “feminization” of the various areas of design; collaboration; representations of women designers; anonymity and “visibility”; writings on women designers; marginalized studies within the field (e.g., African-American women designers); and feminist design history. The first three weeks focus on background readings. Thereafter, the main focus is on particular areas of design, specific designers and designs, and the themes noted above. Students are expected to prepare short presentations, lead one or two class discussions, and undertake research projects, individually or in groups. 3 credits.