Issues in Design History and Material Culture Studies

This seminar introduces students to issues and debates within design history and material culture studies. It aims to provide an understanding of their development as fields of academic study, particularly in the United States and Great Britain, and their relationship to other disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. The course addresses the categories of popular culture and high culture as well as those of gender and sexuality, race and ethnicity, class, and nation. Topics may include positionality; Eurocentrism, Orientalism, and American exceptionalism; invented traditions; connoisseurship; and craft. Also considered are the interrelationships of production, exchange, and consumption as well as affectivity, place, and things. Additionally, the seminar entails critiques of recent books and articles. 3 credits.