Gretchen Von Koenig
Historian | Designer | Educator
I analyze, teach & theorize about the objects that surround us every day.
I am currently a PhD Candidate in the Hagley Program for the History of Capitalism, Technology & Culture (University of Delaware) and hold my MA in History of Design & Curatorial Studies (Parsons / Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Museum) and a BS in Industrial Design & BA in Theatre Arts & Technology (NJIT)
I am a design historian who investigates the intersection of the design industry, American capitalism and the history of technology. My PhD studies focus on the design and use of home security and surveillance systems in the 1960s-80s, studying the material manifestations that resulted from new cultural definitions of domestic safety in the early information age. My past research has investigated the effects of capitalism on industrial design education in the United States, looking at the complex relationships between industry, schools, and a consumer society. This included an investigation into historical and contemporary curricula deployed in undergraduate design education, specifically the how we teach history to design students; issues of racism and classicism in the canon, methodologies for cross-curricular knowledge application and pedagogical practices in design history classrooms today. I am also interested in American popular cultures, class & social identity issues found in everyday objects of mass production, how the making of objects facilitates global cultural exchanges, influences economic structures in trade & commodities, and how this informs problematic labor forces both at home and abroad.
I also am a grant writer, curator, non-profit arts administrator, occasional website builder and a really avid bicyclist. Poke around!