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 Leadership 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 an 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 globalisation, material life and social identity, and consumer culture. She also writes about connections between the chemical industry and the creative sector, on the history of technology, and on the history of engineering. Her books include:
100 Years of Innovation: A Legacy of Pedagogy and Research. University of Delaware Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, and University of Delaware Press, 2014).
The Color Revolution (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012).
TheColorRevolution is on Facebook.
The Color Revolution was awarded the Sally Hacker Prize from the Society for the History of Technology in 2013. It was also named a Notable Book of 2012 by Designers & Books and one of the Best Business Books of 2012 by the Wall Street Journal.
American Consumer Society, 1865-2005: From Hearth to HDTV (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009).
Rohm and Haas: A Century of Innovation (Bainbridge Island, WA: Fenwick; Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2009).
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
Major Problems in American Business History: Essays and Documents (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2006).
Partners in Innovation: Science Education and the Science Workforce (Philadelphia: Chemical Heritage Foundation, 2005).
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 for 2001.
Professor Blaszczyk is particularly keen on doing history for the general public, collaborating with museums and industry, and working to advance teaching methods.
* Project Leader and Principal Investigator on a three-year collaborative research project, 'The Enterprise of Culture: International Structures and Connections in the Fashion Industry Since 1945', with 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 textile mill in Leeds, to document the company's history, 2014-2015.
* Principal Investigator for a four-year research project, 'Future Perfect: Ernest Dichter and Consumer Society in Europe and North America', funded by the European Commission, 2014-2018. The project will lead to the first cultural biography of Ernest Dichter, the father of motivational research and a significant player in transatlantic consumer culture of the post World War II era.
* Principal Investigator for a two-year research project, 'Rethinking Textiles', with Dr Barbara Hahn of Texas Tech University USA, funded by the European Commission, 2014-2016. Dr Hahn is in residence in the School of History as the Marie Curie Incoming International Fellow, conducting new research on the British textile industry during the Industrial Revolution.
* 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 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.
Professor Blaszczyk recently contributed essays to major exhibition catalogues in the USA.
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). This exhibition is currently travelling to museums across the USA.
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 Worlds 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.