Black Design: History, Theory & Practice
We explore what it means to “do” Black Studies in practice-based fields.
As our media-saturated culture exhausts every possible angle of consuming race, a new generation of scholars, activists, and artists has turned to investigating the structuring conditions of how blackness is experienced in everyday life.
Their interest lies in highlighting how race has served as both an invisible subject and a necessary object of design. Bringing together some of the leading figures in the emerging field of Black Design studies, this seminar examines the construction and disruption of racial “commonsense” by those whose creative and technical labor often goes unnoticed. Our work will be geared toward recovering historical precedents for and theorizing contemporary applications of Black Design. In so doing, we will take seriously Teju Cole’s recent contention that design is “not [only] an intellectual exercise,” exploring what it means to “do” Black Studies in practice-based fields such as graphic design, illustration, book arts, game design, industrial design, fashion, museum curation, art installation, urban planning, and landscape architecture.