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ARTH 641 - Issues In Visual and Material Culture: Gender and Design

T - 12:00-15:00

This seminar will explore various facets of and intersections between gender and design history. By exploring various design traditions in North America and Europe from the 19th century to the present, the course will explore how certain objects and interior design have become gendered and even in certain cases attributed a sexual identity. Certain design professions have been heavily dominated by men, industrial design amongst these, while others like interior design has provided a significant entry point for women to enter into the professional realm. According to design historians Pat Kirkham and Penny Sparke, many ‘male decorators may have been considered effeminate by association with the feminized world of “lady decorators,” but they were never denigrated as were [Elsie] de Wolfe and Dorothy Draper’ (2000: 313). The course will investigate some of the cultural assumptions at play here. 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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