Decentering Whiteness in Design History Resources

by Design History Society


We are a group of White design historians in the USA who are working to decenter Whiteness in our design history courses and in our work as scholars. By “decentering Whiteness,” we mean simultaneously decentering White people within the history of American design, and decentering North Americans and Europeans within the global history of design. Some of us have been working toward these goals for years, or for our entire careers. However, we began working together to assemble this bibliography in June, 2020, in response to our students’ demands for design histories that accurately represent the contributions of Black, Indigenous, Latin, Asian, and other non-White designers, and in support of Christen A. Smith’s Cite Black Women movement and similar calls to highlight the work of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian writers on our syllabuses. We are acutely aware that our shared racial and national identity limits the knowledge and constrains the perspectives we can bring to this project. Yet we believe it’s incumbent on us as privileged White people to do as much of this work as we can on our own, rather than (or at least prior to) asking less-privileged people to do the work of educating us.

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