Program Date: March 10, 2023

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The contributors to the SAH-Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum collaborative study, “Rediscovering AAPI Designers and Architects,” will summarize highlights of their white paper completed in November 2022, in discussion with curatorial staff of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Each of the five teams will summarize their findings, with a specific focus upon an area of particular promise for collecting by the Cooper Hewitt. A moderated discussion will explore both overall findings, as well as challenges and ways forward for the collection and exhibition of significant work in the United States by architects and designers of Asian descent.



  • Gail Dubrow, University of Minnesota
  • Lynne Horiuchi, Independent Scholar
  • Sean H. McPherson, Bridgewater State University
  • Edson G. Cabalfin, Tulane University
  • Sujin Eom, Dartmouth College
  • Priya Jain, Texas A&M University
  • Hongyan Yang, Boston College
  • Emily Orr, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Cynthia Trope, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum



white woman with black glasses and head scarf
Gail Dubrow, PhD, FSAH, is Professor of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Public Affairs & Planning, and History at University of Minnesota. Dubrow is a social historian of the built environment and cultural landscape in the US and is active in preserving places significant to the history of women, ethnic communities of color, LGBTQ, and other underrepresented groups. The recipient of numerous honors, her many award-winning publications include Sento at Sixth and Main, with Donna Graves, and Restoring Women's History Through Historic Preservation, edited with Jennifer Goodman.


Asian woman with black glasses and white hair
Lynne Horiuchi, PhD, FSAH, is an independent scholar who received her PhD in 2005 from University of California, Santa Barbara. She has published numerous articles on the built environments of Japanese American incarceration, as well as broader issues of race, space, architecture, and ethics. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, she is co-author with Anoma Pieris of The Architecture of Confinement: Incarceration Camps of the Pacific War, and is completing a volume, Dislocations and Relocations: The Planning, Design, and Construction of Prison Cities.


bald man with black glasses
Sean H. McPherson, MArch, PhD, is Associate Professor of Art History in the Department of Art & Art History at Bridgewater State University. McPherson received his M.Arch and PhD in Architectural History from University of California, Berkeley. His areas of research include the art and architecture of Japanese Shintō shrine festivals, and the cultural landscapes of Asian America. He is the founding co-chair with Gail Dubrow of the SAH Asian American & Diasporic Architectural History Affiliate Group.


Asian man with short black hair and black shirt
Edson G. Cabalfin, PhD, is Associate Dean for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the School of Architecture at Tulane University, where he also serves concurrently as Director of the Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Program and Professor of Practice of Design Thinking. A noted authority on Philippine modern architecture, he received his PhD in History of Architecture and Urban Development from Cornell University, and served as the Curator of the Philippine Pavilion at the 16th Venice Architecture Biennale in 2018.


Asian women with long black hair and pink shirt
Sujin Eom, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Asian Societies, Cultures, and Languages at Dartmouth College. A scholar of architecture and urbanism whose research is anchored in a historical inquiry into race, migration, and the built environment, Eom’s first book manuscript situates “Chinatown” as an imaginative and material space within the global history of empire, labor migration, and violence. The recipient of numerous award and fellowships, Eom holds a PhD in architecture from University of California, Berkeley.


Indian woman with long brown hair and black shirt
Priya Jain, MArch, RA, is an assistant professor in the Department of Architecture and Associate Director of the Center for Heritage Conservation at Texas A&M University. An architect licensed in both the US and India, her teaching and research focus on twentieth-century South Asian architectural history and preservation within a transnational context. Her work has been published in the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE), Future Anterior: Journal of Historic Preservation, History, Theory, and Criticism (in Press), among others.


Asian woman with long brown hair and black shirt
Hongyan Yang, PhD, is a Core Fellow/Visiting Assistant Professor in History, Digital Humanities, Comparative Migration and Ethnic Studies at Boston College. As an interdisciplinary scholar-activist, her work on the spatial and material dimensions of Asian American experience is driven by a lifelong pursuit to uncover and sustain the cultural resilience of marginalized communities. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, Landscapes of Resistance: Chinese Placemaking across the Pacific.


white woman with curly brown hair and gray shirt
Emily Orr, PhD, is Associate Curator and Acting Head of Product Design and Decorative Arts at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. The recipient of a PhD in the History of Design from the Royal College of Art/Victoria & Albert Museum, her specialty is American decorative arts and design, 1850–present. The author of numerous articles and essays on a range of design history topics, Orr is the author of the book, Designing the Department Store: Display and Retail at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Bloomsbury, 2019). 


Cynthia Trope, a white woman with short blonde hair and black glasses
Cynthia Trope is Associate Curator of Product Design and Decorative Arts at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. She received an MA in the History of European Decorative Arts from Parsons School of Design/The New School. Her areas of expertise are design, 1930–contemporary, and industrial design. Exhibitions Cynthia has organized include Energizing the Everyday: Gifts from the George R. Kravis II Collection (2016–17) and Nature by Design: Plastics (2019–2022).


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SAH CONNECTS has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.