Historians of business, technology, and industry have examined the role of the nineteenth-century German chemical industry in revolutionizing the production of dyes, paints, and pigments. We know a good deal about chemists, R&D directors, and managers in the global chemical industry, but we know less about how their color inventions and innovations had an impact on markets, product design, and consumer culture during the great industrial era that stretched from the 1850s through the 1970s.
This workshop seeks to attract scholars in various disciplines (including history, anthropology, art history, design history, sociology, and cultural studies) whose original research on broad historical topics (e.g., the history of marketing, the history of international business, the history scientific knowledge) touches on the history of color in some way. We hope to assemble a diverse group of scholars for an interdisciplinary dialogue that makes sense of the global history of color, consumption, and commerce in the 19th and 20th centuries. We welcome contributions from university scholars, museum curators, librarians and archivists, and independent researchers. We are particularly interested in papers that make innovative use of historical primary sources, such as corporate archives, trade and industry journals, import-export data, designers’ diaries, notebooks, and correspondence, and advertising and marketing ephemera.