Skip to main content

ARTH 665 Histories and Theories of Design: Orientalism, Primitivism and the Modern Interior

  • Tuesdays, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm 
  • Instructor: Dr. John Potvin

This seminar course sets out to critically explore and investigate various competing and overlapping issues that Orientalism and Primitivism have had on Euro-centric design practices and the construction of the modern interior. Through very different from each

other, both racialized so-called decorative strategies have had a significant impact on the development of art, design and interiors. More importantly these styles had deep roots in colonial and imperial networks, practices and influence. Using a large range of case studies, we will explore how best to attempt postcolonial and decolonial analysis of these styles and their usage in the West. Amongst other topics the course will engage with such thematic frames, such as: the body, labour and violence; decorative impulses and modernism, race and the senses, critical whiteness and space. The course will focus on design, interiors and material culture, for which these styles were best known, within the prism of more recent calls to decolonise design studies and design history. Although the focus will be placed on the early twentieth century, the course opens up to more broadly to practices of design and the interior from the eighteenth century to the contemporary moment.

Back to top

© Concordia University