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

This seminar surveys the emergence of women designers and their contributions to American design from 1900 to the present. It draws upon Bard Graduate Center’s landmark exhibition “Women Designers in the USA, 1900-2000: Diversity and Difference,” and Pat Kirkham’s groundbreaking edited volume of the same name. Areas for exploration include, but are not limited to, ceramics, furniture, metalsmithing, jewelry, textiles, quilts, fashion, graphics, industrial design, architectural and interior design, landscape design, and costume and production design for film and television. The course pays special attention to issues of education, training, and professionalization; collaboration, anonymity, and visibility; marginalized areas of study; feminist interpretive frameworks; and race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, and age. Especially important are the understudied careers of Black, Brown, Indigenous, and LGBTQIA+ designers. This seminar also offers students the unique opportunity to contribute to a new, in-depth presentation of the “Women Designers” exhibition on the BGC website. As part of this endeavor, students will work in consultation with Prof Emerita Kirkham, contributors to the exhibition, BGC archivists, and the Digital Media Lab. 3 credits. Digital projects can satisfy the digital project requirement.