Topics and Topicality in the History of Design, 1800-present

Parsons School of Design: Sch. Art and Dsgn Hist and Th

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Graduate Course
Majors Only
Topics in History of Design
Spring 2024
Taught By: Marilyn Cohen
Section: A

CRN: 2037

Credits: 3

This course will meet several times during the semester (dates to be determined) at the Cooper Hewitt museum, and will meet on the main New School campus all other weeks.This course considers significant topics in the history of design, material culture, and decorative arts from 1800 through 2000, with topics understood as intersectional and contextual rather than canonic. The aim is to look historically at design but also to expand design into other spaces by looking at it thematically; to understand why certain topics in design come to the fore and others recede over time. Interiors, ceramics, graphics, furniture, industrial objects, and other artifact types are viewed from cultural, social, and political perspectives. Race, class, ethnicity, and gender, issues central to social justice, are addressed for how they impact design and how design conceptualizes and affects people, places, and things. Lectures consider technological change, the availability or invention of new materials, and patterns of production and consumption within diverse political structures. Design is understood as constructing individual, institutional, and national identities. Readings come from both primary and secondary sources with new approaches to the study of design history explored and welcomed. By the end of the semester, students should have developed a visual vocabulary and ability to engage in the major debates affecting design, decorative arts, and material culture over the last 200 years. We make particular use of the Smithsonian Museum Cooper Hewitt collection with curators explaining how they envision and realize exhibitions and how they individually and as a group engage with objects. While it is important to note that the CH collection is largely comprised of Western design, lectures and lecturers will address topics in the Arts of Africa, Latin America, and Indigenous Peoples with student presentations focusing on both Western and non-Western objects.

Open to: Masters degree in History of Design and Curatorial Studies majors only.

College: Parsons School of Design (PS)

Department: Sch. Art and Dsgn Hist and Th (ADHT)

Campus: Course in NY, not on campus (NN)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 25

Add/Drop Deadline: February 4, 2024 (Sunday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: April 16, 2024 (Tuesday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 12:44pm EDT 5/27/2024

Meeting Info:
Days: Thursday
Times: 12:10pm - 3:00pm
Building: 6 East 16th Street
Room: 906
Date Range: 1/25/2024 - 5/15/2024