American Craft, Design, and Folk Art in the 1920s and 1930s

This seminar explores the intersection of craft, design, and ‘folk’ art in the United States during the years between World War I and II, specifically focusing on converging and diverging conceptions of these categories of cultural production. The course addresses such topics as modernism and antimodernism, industrial design and production, craft revivals, vernacular and machine aesthetics, consumer and popular culture, and world’s fairs. Further considerations include nationalism and internationalism, social movements, and constructions of race and ethnicity in historical context. Canon and discipline formation receive close attention, with special reference to the roles of collectors, museums, educational institutions, and government agencies. Sources include objects, period writings, films, exhibition catalogues, influential scholarship, and recent criticism.

3 credits.