Skip to content

HAD-448 Consuming Design, From Pleasure to Politics

3 Credits

This course examines design from the point of view of its dissemination and reception in various historical contexts and geographical locations. It acknowledges that there is not just one audience for design; rather, the consumption, advertising and selling of designed objects has always differed in time and place based on socio-economic, political, cultural, or religious factors. We will examine design and its circulation in relation to medium and materiality, identity politics, including gender, sexuality, race, and class, the rise of the nation state, and the move towards cross-cultural networks of consumption. While the focus of the course will mostly be on Western and modern design consumption, we will juxtapose the conditions of its emergence in industrialized, capitalist societies against the circulation, reception and display of material culture objects in the early modern world and across a variety of geographical locations. Students are encouraged to purse research projects of their own choice and related to any period or geographical location, upon prior consultation with the instructor.