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Joseph Larnerd
Joseph H. Larnerd, PhD
Assistant Professor, Art History



Academic Building, 115A

Joseph H. Larnerd is a writer and material culturist whose work attends to the social histories of the decorative arts, especially in the United States. He lives and works in Philadelphia where he is an assistant professor of design history at Drexel University.

Multiple institutions have supported his research with fellowships or grants. They include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Winterthur Museum, the Huntington Library, the American Antiquarian Society, the Library Company of Philadelphia, and the Corning Museum of Glass.

Larnerd earned his PhD in art history from Stanford University in 2019. He is a first-generation college graduate.


PhD, Stanford University, Art History, 2019


Undercut: Cut Glass in Working-Class Life during the Gilded Age (book manuscript in progress)

“The McKinley Bowl’s Service and Disservice, 1898-1901” (forthcoming summer 2023, American Art)

“Introduction: Learning How to Look,” in The Museum of Where We Are [exhibition catalog], ed. Joseph H. Larnerd (Philadelphia: The Drexel Collection, 2022), 7-10.

“The Worker in the Window: Class, Cut Glass, and the Spectacle of Work, 1910,” The Journal of Modern Craft 13 (2020): 119-136.

“Scorpion in a Bottle,” in The Art of Description: Writings on the Cantor Collection (Stanford: Cantor Arts Center, 2014), 78-83.

My research and teaching attend to the social histories of design and material culture from the late-eighteenth century to the present, especially in the United States. Much of my work considers how the decorative arts as well as images of their making and use have intervened in popular understandings and enactments of social class, privilege, and mobility. I am especially invested in exploring the roles of such artifacts in the lives and labors of the working classes, whether as representations, products of their efforts, or possessions. My current book project, Undercut: Cut Glass in Working-Class Life during the Gilded Age, offers one such history of cut glass, domestic glassware incised with geometric patterns and very popular around the turn of the 20th century. Additional interests connecting my writing and teaching include material culture theory and method, the relationships between the decorative arts and dissent, and the role of ekphrasis in art historical and material culture writing.

Poster for The Museum of Where We Are

The Museum of Where We Are