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Erica Morawski

Assistant Professor


Dr. Morawski is dedicated to exploring the intersection of design, politics, and identity. Her research and writing center on the history of design in the Americas, with a particular focus on the Hispanic Caribbean. Her work traverses the nature of these relationships across different scales, from a designed object to larger national or international frameworks of trade, manufacture, and knowledge systems. She is presently completing a book manuscript that examines design and development policy in Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Cuba from roughly 1900-1950. This project focuses on design related to the tourism industry as a means to analyze Hispanic Caribbean responses to and engagement with the co-constitutive projects of imperialism/colonialism and modernity. She is also researching a second book project on the institutionalization and role of design, specifically industrial design and architecture after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

Most recently she has published “The Tropicana Cabaret: Designing Cosmopolitan Cubanidad” in the Journal of Design History (2019) and “The Hotel Nacional de Cuba: Making Meanings and Negotiating Nationalism” in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. She co-authored an essay with Sara Desvernine Reed and Marianne Eggler entitled, “Redefining Modern Design: William Pahlmann and “A Matter of Taste’” in Design History Beyond the Canon (Bloomsbury, 2019). Her essay “Modernism on Vacation: The Politics of Modern Hotel Furniture in the Postwar Spanish Caribbean” was published in The Politics of Furniture: Identity, Diplomacy and Persuasion in Post-War Interiors (Fredie Floré and Cammie McAtee, eds. Routledge, 2017). The forthcoming volume Imperials Islands: Art, Architecture, and Visual Experience in the US Insular Empire after 1898 (University of Hawai’i Press, 2021), edited by Joseph R. Hartman, will contain her essay, “Havana’s Early Modern Hotels: Accommodating Colonialism, Independence and Imperialism.”

PhD – University of Illinois at Chicago;
MA – University of Texas at Austin;
BA – Tulane University