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The Politics of Design

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Farieda Nazier, Federico Freschi, Jane Venis
January 2022
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Taking a broad definition of design and drawing on the shared histories and legacies of settler colonialism in Aotearoa New Zealand, Australia and South Africa, The Politics of Design offers a wide-ranging comparative study that focuses specifically on the role of design in creating and perpetuating the privileges and prejudices of racial hierarchies. This provocative volume raises long-overdue questions about the problematic histories and effects of design in the context of these settler-colonial societies. The authors draw on a range of subjects and themes, including various manifestations of visual culture and urban and design technologies, from both an historical and contemporary perspective. Indigenous voices are prominent, enabling a recovery of knowledge that was erased through colonial systems of integration and assimilation. In the current context of globalism, resurgent nationalism and calls for decolonisation The Politics of Design challenges us to think comparatively across disparate but conceptually similar cultural and geographical contexts. In drawing attention to the role of design in sustaining the prejudices and privileges of whiteness and in rendering visible its complexities and contradictions that have long been hidden in plain sight this book makes the argument for a new kind of restorative knowledge.