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, 2000
  • M.A., University of Chicago, 1995
  • B.A., University of Washington, 1993

Research Interests

  • Design and heritage
  • Visual and material culture of travel
  • Women's contributions to modern design
  • International exhibitions, open-air museums, and national parks
  • Textiles and fashion

Courses Taught

  • ARTH 292 - Art and Design Since 1900
  • ARTH 361 - History of Sustainable Design
  • ARTH 362 - History of Visual Communication
  • ARTH 456/656 - Topics in Design History
    • Fashion, Modernism, and Modernity
    • Vienna 1900
    • World's Fair
    • Open-Air Museum to National Park
  • ARTH 701 - Graduate Seminar in Art History
    • Women Designers
    • New Mythologies
    • What is Design History?

Student Mentorship

Professor Houze has supervised undergraduate and graduate research projects on diverse design topics, including architectural signage, fashion photography, video games, cross-dressing, the Gibson girl, IKEA, industrial furnishings in the nineteenth century, modern art in Vienna, Grimm's Brothers fairy tale illustrations, and the 1933 Century of Progress exhibition in Chicago. She welcomes inquiries from current and prospective students who would like to work with her.

Major Publications

Professor Houze is an art and design historian whose research focuses on Central Europe with an emphasis on women designers. Her first book, Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform in Austria-Hungary Before the First World War: Principles of Dress (2015) was supported by a Joint Austria-Hungary Fulbright Fellowship. Her collection of essays, New Mythologies in Design and Culture: Reading Signs and Symbols in the Visual Landscape (2016) explores our designed world with stories of familiar brand marks and popular objects such as the McDonald's Golden Arches, Apple iPhone, and Nike Swoosh. She is currently working on a new book, which investigates the design of heritage at world’s fairs and national parks in Europe and North America.


  • Textiles, Fashion, and Design Reform in Austria-Hungary Before the First World War: Principles of Dress. Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2015.
  • New Mythologies in Design and Culture: Reading Signs and Symbols in the Visual Landscape. London: Bloomsbury, 2016.

Edited Volumes

  • Grace Lees-Maffei and Rebecca Houze (eds). Design and Heritage: Concepts and Contexts (Routledge book series Key Issues in Cultural Heritage). London: Routledge, 2022.
  • Grace Lees-Maffei and Rebecca Houze (eds). The Design History Reader, second edition. London: Bloomsbury, 2022.
  • Sylvia Margolin and Rebecca Houze (eds). World History of Design, vol. 3. Europe and North America: 1945-2000. London: Bloomsbury, 2023.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "Hopi House and the Design of Cultural Heritage at Grand Canyon National Park." In Design and Heritage: Concepts and Contexts. Edited by Grace Lees-Maffei and Rebecca Houze. London: Routledge, 2022.
  • "A Hungarian Treasure Chest: The Art Colony at Gödöllő in Critical Perspective." In Constructing Race on the Borders of Europe: Ethnography, Anthropology, and Visual Culture, 1850-1930. Edited by Marsha Morton and Barbara Larson. London: Bloomsbury, 2021.
  • "The Art and Design of Anna Lesznai: Adaptation and Transformation." In Jews and Cultural Identity in Central European Modernism." Edited by Elana Shapira. London: Bloomsbury, 2022.
  • Robert A. Houze, Jr. and Rebecca Houze, “Clouds and Weather Symbols in the Historic Language of Weather Map Plotters,” Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 100, no. 12 (2019): ES423-ES443.
  • "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, 2018.
  • "Home as a Living Museum: Ethnographic Display and the 1896 Millennial Exhibition in Budapest." Centropa: Journal of Central European Architecture and Related Arts 12, no. 2 (2012), pp. 131-151.
  • "Hungarian Nationalism, Gottfried Semper, and the Budapest Museum of Applied Art." Studies in the Decorative Arts, vol. 16, no. 2 (Spring-Summer 2009), pp. 7-38.
  • "At the Forefront of a Newly Emerging Profession? Ethnography, Education, and the Exhibition of Women’s Needlework in Austria-Hungary." Journal of Design History, vol. 21, no. 1 (2008), pp. 19-40.
  • "National Internationalism: Reactions to Austrian and Hungarian Decorative Arts at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle." Studies in the Decorative Arts, vol. 12, no. 2 (Fall-Winter 2004-2005), pp. 55-97.
  • "From ‘Wiener Kunst im Hause’ to the Wiener Werkstätte: Marketing Domesticity with Fashionable Interior Design." Design Issues 18, no. 1 (Winter 2002), pp. 3-23. Republished in in Mark Taylor and Julieanna Preston, ed., INTIMUS: Interior Design Theory Reader, pp. 156-161. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.
  • 'Fashionable Reform Dress and the Invention of ‘Style’ in Fin-de-Siècle Vienna." Fashion Theory: The Journal of Dress, Body & Culture 5, no. 1 (March 2001), pp. 29-56.

Editorial Boards

  • Journal of Design History
  • Art East/Central
  • Bloomsbury Design Library

Institutional Affiliations