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ARTH 611 Industrialization and the Built Environment: The Politics of Identity and the Modern Interior

  • Tuesdays, 1:00-4 pm
  • Course delivery TBA
  • Dr. John Potvin

This seminar explores various facets of and intersections between gender, sexuality, race and the modern interior. It will consider how certain objects, spaces and interior design practices have become gendered and even in certain cases attributed a sexual identity. The politics of modern design have provided an entire system of design premised on hygiene, morality and function; many of these theories have not always been receptive to those on the margins. Moreover, many modern designers and the cultural idea(l)s around design had deep roots in colonial and imperial networks, practices and influences. As a result, the course sets out to interrogate the ways modern design allowed or prevented certain identities to flourish. Utilizing the large range of materials that the period offers up, we will attempt a decolonisation of the modern interior which remains largely understood in rigid terms. Our ambition for the course is to explore the politics of identity and the modern interior within the prism of more recent calls to queer and decolonise design history. The course will focus more broadly on practices of interior design from the end of the nineteenth century to various modern practices leading up to World War II. Students will become familiar with the leading texts and scholars working in the field today which will inspire students to purse their own line of enquiry.

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