Faculty Profile

Christina Cogdell
Chair of Design Department
Professor of Design

Field of interest: History and Theory of Design and Science

Research 

After finishing her second book Toward a Living Architecture? Complexism and Biology in Generative Design (in press), she is now researching and teaching facets of biodesign theory and practice. During Winter and Spring 2018, along with biomedical engineering professor Marc Facciotti, she is preparing student teams from UC Davis to compete in the Biodesign Challenge Competition. She works with kombucha scoby/bacterial cellulose and mushroom mycelium as materials for teaching students to think differently about design practice, life cycle analysis, and sustainability. 

Publications and Work

She is the author of Toward a Living Architecture? Complexism and Biology in Generative Design, on generative architecture and design in relation to recent scientific theories of self-organization and emergence, development and evolution, and complex adaptive systems (University of Minnesota Press, January 2019); Eugenic Design: Streamlining America in the 1930s (2010/2004), winner of the 2006 Edelstein Prize for outstanding book on the history of technology; and co-editor of the anthology Popular Eugenics: National Efficiency and American Mass Culture in the 1930s (2006).

Her work is included in the anthologies

  • Routledge Handbook of Biology in Art and Architecture (2016)
  • Politics of Parametricism (2015)
  • Keywords in Disability Studies (2015)
  • Visual Culture and Evolution (2011)
  • I Have Seen the Future – Norman Bel Geddes Designs America (2012)
  • Art, Sex, and Eugenics (2008)

Her work is published in the journals

  • Technoetic Arts
  • American Art,
  • Boom: A Journal of California
  • Design and Culture
  • American Quarterly
  • Volume
  • Design Issues

Teaching

Christina Cogdell is Professor of Design, specializing in history, theory and criticism, and a Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of California at Davis.

At UC Davis, she teaches interdisciplinary classes in Design history/ theory/criticism, Biodesign, Art History, Cultural Studies, and American Studies.
These include seminars on:

 

  • “BioDesign Theory and Practice” (DES 128)
  • “Design Research and Writing Methods” (DES 222). 
  • “Self-Organization and Emergence in the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences” (CST 295)

Her large undergraduate lecture courses are:

  • “Energy, Materials and Design across Time” (DES 40A) 
  • “The History of American Architecture” (AHI 188B)

And upper-division seminars include:

  • “Nature Theorized, Nature Materialized: 20th-century American Architecture and Design” (AHI 250)
  • “Superman: The History of American Eugenics” (AMS 101)

She previously has taught at the University of Pennsylvania, College of Santa Fe, and California State University – Fullerton.

(530) 754-7174
Room 227, Cruess Hall

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