The State of Design History as a Discipline


By Denise Whitehouse

Besides identifying the differences between Design History and Design Studies and their competing concerns and audiences, the essay proposes that the Northern Hemisphere/Eurocentric historical methods and thinking that informs the practice of design history needs to challenged. It argues for the development of new methods that address the history of design in non English speaking and post colonial countries, and that the western conceptual map of the world that dominates design history thinking needs to be changed to address the world views of the Southern hemisphere and Asia pacific regions.

The essay has been well received as game changing especially by the Spanish and Latin American design historians Isabel Campi and Anna Calvera and the ICDH&DS. Isabel Campi translated the essay into Spanish to make it accessible to non English cultures.
 ‘The State of Design History as a Discipline’ was first published in the Design Studies: A Reader eds. Hazel Clark and David Brody, 2012.