Professor Regina Lee Blaszczyk

Leadership Chair in the History of Business and Society, and Professor of Business History

+44 (0)113 34 33613

Summary: Global, British, and American business history with a cultural twist; consumer society in the US and UK; history of design, innovation, fashion, colour, marketing, and retailing; the chemical industry

Location: Michael Sadler Building, room 3.35

Teaching Commitments: Semester I 2018-2019: History on the High Street (autumn edition); American Business History; Consumer Society in Comparative Perspective. Semester II 2018-2019: History on the High Street (spring edition); Global Business History; The Modern World

Background

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

Reggie 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 an American studies professor at Boston University; and as director of the Beckman Center for the History of Chemistry at the the Chemical Heritage Foundation (now the Science History Institute) in Philadelphia. From 2005 to 2012, she was a visiting professor at the University of Pennsylvania while running a consultancy dedicated to America's innovation heritage. 

Interests and Publications

Reggie 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 globalisation, material life and social identity, and consumer culture. She also writes about connections between the global chemical industry, the chemical engineering profession, and the creative sector, and about the history of technology. She has collaborated with museums and with industry on numerous projects.

She is firmly committed to publishing books that address important historical themes, while being written in clear, concise prose that can be enjoyed by academics and general readers alike. She firmly believes that the best historians must not only dig through the archives for new evidence, but they must also focus on good writing and tell engaging stories.

Reggie has published 12 books and edited 2 special issues of journals. Please scroll down to see some of her books, funded projects, and exhibition catalogues. 

Bright Modernity

Bright Modernity: Color, Commerce, and Consumer Culture, edited with Uwe Spiekermann (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017). 

Fashionability

Fashionability: Abraham Moon and the Creation of British Cloth for the Global Market (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017).

European Fashion

European Fashion: The Creation of a Global Industry, edited with Veronique Pouillard (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018).

Fashion Forecaster

The Fashion Forecasters: A Hidden History of Color and Trend Prediction, edited with Ben Wubs (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2018).

100 Years of Innovation: A Legacy of Pedagogy and Research. University of Delaware Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (Lanham, MD: University of Delaware Press, and Rowman and Littlefield, 2014).

'Special Issue: Colour and Design', Journal of Design History 27, no. 3 (Sept. 2014): 203-308. Have a peek at the Introduction, 'Chromophilia: The Design World's Passion for Colour', here

history publications

TheColorRevolution is on Facebook.

The Color Revolution (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012). The Color Revolution was awarded the Sally Hacker Prize for Exceptional Scholarship that Reaches Beyond the Academy from the Society for the History of Technology in 2013. It was named a Notable Book of 2012 by Designers & Books and one of the Best Business Books of 2012 by the Wall Street Journal. It also received the BONE Award (Best of New England Award) for the stunning layout and graphic design.

Read the review of The Color Revolution in The New York Times here.

Listen to the 'Selling Colour' podcast on BBC Radio 4 here.

Enjoy the 'Conversation about Colour' with ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) here.

'Special Issue: Fashion.' Business History 54, no. 1 (Feb. 2012), edited with Francesca Polese. You can read a snippet from the Introduction, 'Fashion Forward: The Business History of Fashion', here.

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American Consumer Society, 1865-2005: From Hearth to HDTV (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009).

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

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Producing Fashion: Commerce, Culture, and Consumers (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2008). Producing Fashion received the 'Best of the Best Prize' from the Association of American University Presses, 2008.

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

history publications

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

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Imagining Consumers: Design and Innovation from Wedgwood to Corning (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000). Imagining Consumers received the Hagley Prize for the Best Book in Business History for 2001, awarded by the Business History Conference, the largest international organization of business historians. It was also named a Choice Outstanding Academic Title and was a finalist for the Design History Society Scholarship Award in the UK, both in 2001.

Funded Research Projects

* Principal Investigator for 'The Synthetics Revolution', a new book funded by a British Academy Small Grant, and travel grants from the Pasold Research Fund in Textile History and from the British Archives Council, 2018-2019.

* Principal Investigator for a 4-year research project, 'Future Perfect', funded by a Career Integration Grant from the Marie Curie People Programme of the European Commission, 2014-2018.  The project's outputs included a co-edited book on the history of colour and trend forecasting. 

* Project Leader and Lead Principal Investigator for a 3-year pan-European collaborative research project, 'The Enterprise of Culture: International Structures and Connections in the Fashion Industry Since 1945', with 8 partners in the UK and the EU. Funded by HERA II (Humanities in the European Research Area, European Commission), 2013-2016. Visit the project website here.

* Principal Investigator for the 'Moon Heritage Project', a collaborative effort with Abraham Moon & Sons, Ltd., a vertically integrated woollen mill in Leeds, to document the company's history within the broader context of the global fashion system, 2014-2017. 

* Principal Investigator for a 2-year research project, 'Rethinking Textiles', funded by the Marie Curie People Programme of the European Commission that hosted a visiting fellow at the University of Leeds, 2014-2016.

* Collaborator with Professor David Raizman of Drexel University USA on 'The Canon and Beyond: Teaching the History of Modern Design', a summer institute for college and university teachers funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), USA, for 2015.

* Co-Investigator for an exploratory grant with the Research Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London to explore themes on 'The Future Is Our Business: A Visual History of Future Expertise'. This work was funded by the AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), 2013. 

Exhibition Catalogues:

Reggie has contributed essays to major exhibition catalogues in the USA and the UK. 

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For the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas-Austin, she wrote an essay on industrial design and consumer culture for Donald Albrecht, ed., Norman Bel Geddes Designs America (New York: Abrams, 2012). 

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She was also invited by curators at the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City to contribute an essay on invention and innovation to Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at the World’s Fairs, 1851-1939 (New York: Skira Rizzoli, 2012). Inventing the Modern World received the Henry Russel Hitchcock Award from the Victorian Society in America in 2013. 

Stay tuned for her chapter in Valerie Steele, ed., Pink: The History of a Punk, Pretty, Powerful Color (New York and London: Thames and Hudson, 2018), a catalogue for an eponymous exhibition at the Museum at FIT in New York that will open in September 2018.  

Fans of the London Mod Look should watch for Reggie's chapter in a catalogue on the 1960s British fashion designer Mary Quant to be published by the V&A in London in tandem with a major exhibition that will open in April 2019.