Rebecca Houze, Ph.D.

Profile photo
Title: Professor
Department: Art History
Office Location: Art Building, 203J
Office Phone: 815-753-1473
Office Fax: 815-753-7701

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., University of Chicago
  • M.A., University of Chicago
  • B.A., University of Washington


  • Global design history, theory and criticism
  • Textiles and fashion
  • Architecture, landscape and the built environment
  • Graphic visual communication
  • Histories of sustainability
  • Heritage studies

Courses Taught

  • ARTH 292 -  Art and Design Since 1900
  • ARTH 360/560 - Studies in Design
  • ARTH 361 - History of Sustainable Design
  • ARTH 362 - History of Visual Communication
  • ARTH 456/656 - Topics in Design History
  • ARTH 485 - Topics in Art History
  • ARTH 701 - Graduate Seminar in Art History

Current Research

  • Exploring how cultural identity is designed into the built environment in architecture, landscape, and the visual and material culture of travel
  • International exhibitions and world's fairs influence on the development of open-air museums of cultural heritage and national parks in Europe and North America in the early twentieth century
  • Women's contributions to modern design in Vienna and Budapest, twin capitals of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, where cultural conversations about textiles and dress were at the center of new schools and museums of design
  • Ubiquitous signs and symbols of the designed visual landscape
  • Hidden meanings behind familiar objects and icons as the Apple iPhone and the Nike swoosh

Major Publications


  • New Mythologies in Design and Culture: Reading Signs and Symbols in the Visual Landscape. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.
  • Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform Before the First World War: Principles of Dress. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015.
  • Grace Lees-Maffei and Rebecca Houze, ed., The Design History Reader. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

Edited Volumes

  • Grace Lees-Maffei and Rebecca Houze, ed., The Design History Reader. Oxford: Berg, 2010.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Whose Heritage? Representing an Indigenous Past and Present: Mary Colter's Hopi House at the Grand Canyon." International Journal of Heritage Studies. Special Issue: Design History/ Design Heritage. Edited by Grace Lees-Maffei and Rebecca Houze. 2019.
  • "Emilie Bach (1840-1890): Education Reformer, Critic, and Art Embroiderer in the Era of Franz Joseph I." In Design Dialog: Der jüdische Beitrag zur Wiener Moderne/ Design Dialogue: Jews, Culture and Viennese Modernism. Edited by Elana Shapira. Vienna: Böhlau Verlag, 2018.
  • "A Revelation of Grace and Pride": Cultural Memory and International Aspiration in
  • Early Twentieth-Century Hungarian Design." In Expanding Nationalisms At World Fairs: Identity, Diversity And Exchange, 1851-1915. Edited by David Raizman and Ethan Robey. London: Routledge, 2017.