Ethan Robey

  • Associate Teaching Professor of Art History
  • Art of the United States

  • History of Design

  • Theory of Exhibitions

  • Museum Studies

202 Borland

Ethan Robey


Dr. Robey teaches courses in American Art, Graphic Design History, World’s Fairs, and Museum Studies. His research has largely been in 19th- and 20th-century art, design and material culture, with a special interest in spectacles, display and exhibitions. He has published articles and reviews in journals such as the Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, Early Popular Visual Culture and the Journal of Design History, on displays of technology and consumer goods in museums and world’s fairs; panoramas and other forms of visual spectacle; and 19th-century American painting. He has written chapters on the classed nature of art appreciation at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia's Cultural Landscape: The Sartain Family Legacy (2000), and on the role of trades fairs in the development of bourgeois consumerism in The American Bourgeoisie: Distinction and Identity in the Nineteenth Century (2010). In the exhibition catalogue Inventing the Modern World: Decorative Arts at World’s Fairs, 1851–1939 (2012), Dr. Robey explored the relationships between design and nationalism, a topic that became the main theme of a volume of essays he co-edited with Prof. David Raizman, Expanding Nationalisms at World Fairs: Identity, Diversity and Exchange, 1855-1914 (2018). Prior to his appointment at Penn State, Dr. Robey was the Associate Director of the Master’s Program in the History of Design and Curatorial Studies, jointly run by Parsons School of Design and Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, and Assistant Professor of the History of Decorative Arts and Design at Parsons School of Design.