Visual Cultures Workshop: Rebecca Houze


Location: 211 DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

Visual Cultures Workshop flyer

New Mythologies in Design and Culture: Readings Signs and Symbols in the Visual Landscape

This talk considers a range of contemporary visual images, from the history of "green" to the meaning of sports logos and children's building toys. Among the ubiquitous global trademarks examined are BP, McDonald's, and Nike. What do these icons say to us today? What political and ideological messages are hidden beneath their surfaces? Taking the idea of myth in its broadest sense, the individual case studies employ a variety of analytic methods derived from linguistics, psychoanalysis, anthropology, sociology, and art history. In their eclecticism of approach they demonstrate the interdisciplinarity of design history and design studies.

Professor Rebecca Houze, Northern Illinois University, is a specialist in the history of design and the decorative arts, with an emphasis on textiles, dress, and exhibitions. She is author of Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform in Austria-Hungary Before the First World War: Principles of Dress (Ashgate, 2015), and New Mythologies in Design and Culture: Reading Signs and Symbols in the Visual Landscape (Bloomsbury, 2016), and is co-editor of The Design History Reader (Berg, 2010). Her current research project investigates the relationship between world’s fairs and national parks in Europe and North America at the turn of the twentieth century.