I recently contributed a brief field report to the inaugural online issue of West 86th: A Journal of Decorative Arts, Design History and Material Culture, published by the Bard Graduate Center and the University of Chicago Press. The piece concerns the challenges of teaching design history and begins:
As someone who is neither a designer nor a design historian, but is engaged in various domains of design practice and in the study of the material culture of the industrial era, I tend to puzzle over how exactly to teach design history. The field is rich but still young. It remains underrepresented in research universities. Despite the bold promise of pioneering enterprises such as Alois Riegl’s Stilfragen, the disciplinary traditions of art history have mostly cast it outside the mainstream of forms of cultural historical inquiry (often to the detriment of the latter).