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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 forthcoming in 2025 with the University of Pittsburgh Press. Titled Development Design: Hotels and Politics in the Hispanic Caribbean, the book examines design and development policy in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico from roughly 1900-1960. This project focuses on design in 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 working on a second book project on the intersection of the institutionalization of design, specifically industrial design and architecture, and revolutionary ideology after the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

Other forthcoming projects include:

“Defining Non-Alignment and Solidarity in Cuban Architecture,” in South-South: Non-Alignment and Cooperation in the Construction of the Global South, edited by Vladimir Kuliç, Peter Scriver, and Amit Srivastava (forthcoming 2024), an essay about 1970s Cuban building projects in Vietnam; and “Designing Tropical Destinations: Hotels, Development, and Insular Identity in the Hispanic Caribbean,” in Architectures of the Greater Caribbean, edited by John Davis and Bryan Norwood (Austin: University of Texas Press, forthcoming 2024).

Dr. Morawski is a co-coordinator of Interior Provocations, an ongoing symposium and scholarly collaboration between the History of Art and Design and Interiors Department at Pratt Institute.

At Pratt, Dr. Morawski teaches such courses as Modern Latin American Design,Caribbean Design, History of Industrial Design, Crafting Modern Craft – History, Theory, Politics, Cold War/Hot Design, and Art Historical Theory and Methodology.

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

Interior Design On Edge: History, Theory Praxis (New York: Routledge, 2024) (lead editor)

Por el Pueblo, Para El Pueblo: Tourism Leisurescapes and Revolutionary Ideology in Castro’s Cuba,” in Coastal Architectures and Politics of Tourism: Leisurescapes in the Global Sunbelt, editedby Sibel Bozdogan, Petros Phokaides, and Panayiota Pyla as part of the larger research initiative, Leisurescapes Project, (New York: Routledge, 2022)

Appropriated Interiors, Deborah Schneiderman, Anca I. Lasc, and Karin Tehve, eds. (New York:Routledge, 2022) (section editor)

“Havana’s Early Modern Hotels: Accommodating Colonialism, Independence and Imperialism,” in Imperials Islands: Art, Architecture, and Visual Experience in the US Insular Empire after 1898, edited by Joseph R. Hartman (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2021)

“Redefining Modern Design: William Pahlmann and ‘A Matter of Taste’,” written with Marianne Eggler and Sara Desvernine Reed in Design History Beyond the Canon, edited by Jennifer Kaufmann-Buhler, Victoria Rose Pass and Christopher Wilson (London: Bloomsbury, 2019)

“The Hotel Nacional de Cuba: Making Meanings and Negotiating Nationalism,” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 78, no. 1 (March 2019), 98-108.

“The Tropicana Cabaret: Designing Cosmopolitan Cubanidad,” Journal of Design History, Special Issue on Latin American Design 32, no. 1 (Feb. 2019), 52-68.

“Modernism on Vacation: The Politics of Modern Hotel Furniture in the Postwar Spanish Caribbean,” in The Politics of Furniture: Identity, Diplomacy and Persuasion in Post-War Interiors, edited by Fredie Floré and Cammie McAtee (New York: Routledge, 2017)