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John Potvin, PhD

Department Chair, Art History
Professor, Art History
Associate Editor, Journal of Design History
Member, Centre for Sensory Studies

John Potvin, PhD
Availability: Fall term office hours are by appointment only

Dr John Potvin received his PhD in 2005 from Queen's University and has taught at a number of universities including York University and the University of Toronto and in 2005 was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Guelph. In 2012, he came to Concordia University as Associate Professor and teaches on the intersections of art, design and fashion. His research largely while not exclusively focuses on the ways the male body, competing masculinities and dissident sexualities are performed, represented, memorialized and perceived through various modern design and material and visual cultures since the late 19th century in Europe and North America. He has published several essays in books and journals including The Journal of Design HistoryJournal of Interior DesignSenses and SocietyGendersHome Cultures, Visual Culture in Britain and Fashion Theory.

He is the author of Material and Visual Cultures Beyond Male Bonding (Ashgate 2008), Giorgio Armani: Empire of the Senses (Ashgate 2013) and, more recently, Bachelors of a Different Sort: Queer Aesthetics, Material Culture and the Modern Interior in Britain (Manchester University Press 2014), which won the Historians of British Art Book Prize. 2020 also saw the release of Deco Dandy: Designing Masculinity in 1920s Paris (Manchester UP) which explores the fashion, painting, performance and design cultures of the much-neglected interwar dandy.

In addition to being editor of The Places and Spaces of Fashion (Routledge 2009) and Oriental Interiors: Design, Identity, Space (Bloomsbury 2015) he is also co-editor of both Material Cultures, 1740-1920: The Meanings and Pleasures of Collecting (Ashgate 2009) and Fashion, Interior Design and the Contours of Modern Identity (Ashgate 2010). He serves on the editorial boards of several international peer-reviewed journals and was book review editor for Interiors: Interiors, Design and Architecture (2011-13).

He is currently preparing a manuscript for Manchester UP, The Gender of Interior Design: From Professionalization to Activism, 1969-2019, which is the result of a four-year SSHRC Insight Grant. In 2021 he was awarded a 4-year SSHRC Insight Grant to investigate 'Primitivism and Interior Design: Art Deco, Hybridity and Decolonization of the Modern Interior in France, 1909-1939'.

Research & Teaching Interests

§     The cultures of modernism in art, design and fashion

§    Sexuality, gender and design

§     Histories and theories of the interior

§     Material and visual cultures of masculinity

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