From consumer products to architecture to advertising to digital technology, design is an undeniably global phenomenon. Yet despite their professed transnational perspective, historical studies of design have all too often succumbed to a bias toward Western, industrialized nations. This diverse but rigorously curated collection recalibrates our understanding of design history, reassessing regional and national cultures while situating them within an international context. Here, contributors from five continents offer nuanced studies that range from South Africa to the Czech Republic, all the while sensitive to the complexities of local variation and the role of nation-states in identity construction.
Designing Worlds was reviewed by Deborah Breen (2018) for Technology and Culture 59 (4): 999-1000. Breen called the book an ‘ambitious undertaking’ which opens up:
‘important questions about the circulation of goods, practices, and personnel - all of which connect to the transfer of technology throughout history’.
The book was also reviewed by Dr Javier Gimeno-Martínez (2018) for the Journal of Design History 31 (3): 302–303.
Designing Worlds is available Open Access thanks to funding from the University of Oslo and the University of Hertfordshire. Watch a short film in which I discuss the experience of open access for this book here.