Areas of Expertise: Modern and American architecture, design, and urbanism, the history of the interior design profession in the United States, the historiography and pedagogy of art and architectural history, digital cultural mapping and network analysis.
Paula Lupkin is a historian of design, architecture, and cities. She received her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Penn., in 1997 and taught at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois, Chicago, and Washington University in St. Louis before moving to the University of North Texas in 2012. As faculty in the Department of Art History, Dr. Lupkin teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in the history of architecture, interiors, and furniture, as well as the social role of design and the designer, issues of race, gender, class and space in American cities, and cross-cultural exchange in the histories of art and architecture.
Dr. Lupkin’s interdisciplinary work focuses on the spatial production of modernity under capitalism, investigating its impact on the designed world and the built environment. Her research and publications, including her first book, Manhood Factories: YMCA Architecture and the Making of Modern Urban Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 2010), address the ways that architecture, interiors, cities, and landscapes shaped and were shaped by new ways of living, working, designing, and consuming. This book, as well as current projects on architectural and cultural networks in the American Southwest and the history of the interior design profession in the United States, have been supported by the Charles Warren Center at Harvard, the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Study in the Fine Arts, The Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin, the Texas State Historical Association, the Clements Center for Southwestern Studies at Southern Methodist University, and the UNT I-GRO Program. She serves on the board of the Vernacular Architecture Forum and is a program co-chair chair for the Society of City and Regional Planning History’s biennial meeting in Los Angeles in 2015.
Through fieldwork, archival research, teaching, writing, and digital humanities projects, she examines the ways that capital flows and technological innovations carve patterns in the land, shape the design of the material world, and provide a framework for human relations. Supported by the Graham Foundation, the Charles Warren Center at Harvard, the Texas State Historical Society, and the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at SMU, she has been the author of books and articles on diverse topics including YMCA architecture, American interior design practice, and the relationship between beer, cannabis, and the design of Louis Sullivan's famous skyscraper, the Wainwright Building. Recent work on historic interiors includes Shaping the American Interior: Contexts, Structures, and Practices (Routledge, 2018), co-edited with Penny Sparke, and “The Telegraphic Interior: Networking Space for Capital Flows in the 1920s” in Interior Provocations (Routledge, forthcoming 2020).