Gretchen Von Koenig

Historian | Designer | Educator

I analyze, teach & theorize about the objects that surround us every day.

First trained as an industrial designer, then a design historian, I have had a relationship with material culture for quite some time (as we all have). I am interested in the role objects play in giving form to our lives, framing our social interactions, and conveying identities of people, cultures and societies. The focus of my recent research involves the effects of American capitalism on design and design education and how this in turn upholds systemic issues of racism & classism.  My other research surrounds historical and contemporary curricula deployed in undergraduate design education, specifically the integration of critical studies to practical studio training.I am also interested in American popular cultures, class & social identity issues found in everyday objects of mass production, as well as 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. Poke around! 

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