Professor Regina Lee Blaszczyk

Chair in the History of Business and Society


Summary: History of capitalism; history of innovation; consumer culture in comparative perspective; history of design, fashion, colour, and retailing.

Location: Michael Sadler Building


Regina Lee Blaszczyk joined the School of History as Chair in the History of Business and Society in 2013.

Professor Blaszczyk likes to do things differently! Her career has included jobs as a cultural history curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, DC; as a history professor at Boston University; and as program director at the Chemical Heritage Foundation in Philadelphia. From 2005 to 2012, she was a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania while running a consultancy dedicated to America's innovation heritage. 

She is associate editor at the Journal of Design History (the top design history journal for the humanities) and a member of the editorial board of Enterprise and Society.

Interests and Publications

Professor Blaszczyk does research on the cultural history of business, with reference to design, fashion, colour, retailing, and advertising.  Her work connects the history of the creative industries to big historical themes such as globalization, material life and social identity, and consumer culture. She also writes about connections between the chemical industry and the creative sector.  Her books include:

Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000).

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Partners in Innovation: Science Education and the Science Workforce (Philadelphia: Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2005).

 history publications

Major Problems in American Business History: Essays and Documents (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006).

Regina lee blaszczyk

Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008).

 Regina lee blaszczyk

Rohm and Haas: A Century of Innovation (Bainbridge Island, WA: Fenwick; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).

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American Consumer Society, 1865-2005: From Hearth to HDTV (Wheeling, IL: Harlan Davidson, 2009).

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 The Color Revolution (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012).

history publications

TheColorRevolution is on Facebook.

The Color Revolution

was awarded the 2013 Sally Hacker prize from the Society for the History of Technology and named a Notable Book of 2012 by Designers & Books and one of the Best Business Books of 2012 by the Wall Street Journal.  Read the review in The New York Times here.  Listen to the "Selling Colour" podcast on BBC Radio 4 here. Enjoy the "Conversation about Colour" with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation here.

Outreach Projects

Professor Blaszczyk is particularly keen on doing history for the general public.  In 2012, she contributed essays to two major exhibition catalogs in the USA: Norman Bel Geddes Designs America for the University of Texas at Austin and the Museum of the City of New York, and Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851-1939, for the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh.  

Her recent collaborations include:

* Principal Investigator on a 2013  project with with the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to plan an exhibit on "The Future: A History," for 2016. This work is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

* Project leader on a three-year collaborative project, 'The Enterprise of Culture: International Structures and Connections in the Fashion Industry Since 1945', With Partners in the UK and the Eu.  Visit the project website here.