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Favelization | Ebook, Website, Kickstarter, Digital Marketing Strategy
Favelization is an ebook published by the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on Feburary 11, 2014 as part of the DesignFile series.
In Favelization, I set out to understand the ways in which specific producers of contemporary Brazilian culture capitalized on misappropriations of favelas (informal squatter settlements that grow along the hillsides and lowlands of many Brazilian cities) in order to brand luxury items as "Brazilian."
Through case studies that look at the films Waste Land and City of God, shirts designed by Fernando and Humberto Campana for Lacoste in 2009, the furniture collection Neorustica by Brunno Jahara, and the Stray Bullet chair and Pacification shelves by David Elia, I explain how designers and filmmakers engage with primitivism and stereotype to make their goods more desirable to a non-Brazilian audience. I argue that the processes of interpretation, aestheticization, transcendence, and domination are part of the favelization phenomena. Favelization locates design as part of a broader constellation of representations that includes a variety of forms from printed media to film.
The publication provides visual and material analyses, as well as theoretical discussions that draw on works by scholars in cultural and postcolonial studies such as John Tagg, Edward Said, Mariana Torgovnick, Mike Davis, and Trinh T. Minh-Ha. Favelization raises questions about the ethical conundrums associated with using the "Other" in commercial design work. 
Cover of the ebook designed by the Cooper-Hewitt.
The website extends the conversation on-line.
A screenshot of the "Design" page on showing Brunno Jahara's Neorustica collection.
Favelization began as an essay for the class "Theorizing Luxury" taught by Prof. David Brody as part of the M.A. in History of Decorative Arts & Design at Parsons The New School For Design and Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. 
Zona Maco, Mexico City, May 2013.
I then began receiving invitations to speak at conferences in Philadelphia, Hong Kong, Richmond, and Mexico City. 
The covers of the first eight DesignFile publications. 
I was then invited by the Cooper-Hewitt to become a part of its DesignFile series. 

Launched in January 2013 by the Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, 
DesignFile is a line of e-books on design writing and research published in consortium with academic 
and institutional partners. DesignFile is the latest publishing initiative of the 
Cooper-Hewitt, following the establishment of an independent publishing imprint in 2006.
DesignFile features a wide range of books, from short, text-only works to full-length 
illustrated publications. The text-only books disseminate specific ideas and research to a specialist 
audience, while the illustrated books treat broader subjects and offer enhancements such as embedded 
audiovisual and multimedia files. All DesignFile publications are formatted as EPUB 2.0 files and 
accessible through any e-book reader. DesignFile is distributed by Artbook D.A.P.

Inaugural members of the design e-book consortium are Smithsonian Institution Libraries, 
Parsons The New School for Design and the School of Visual Arts. Participating institutions publish 
writings from faculty and alumni on an array of design fields and disciplines, as well as the best 
masters’ theses in design. Cooper-Hewitt contributes works on its innovative exhibitions, collection 
and conservation research, education programs, and texts by winners, finalists and jurors of the 
prestigious National Design Awards.

DesignFile is the latest addition to a robust series of initiatives and partnerships undertaken by 
Cooper-Hewitt to broaden digital access to the collection and transform the museum’s website into a 
leading design research and educational resource. In 2012, Cooper-Hewitt announced the release of its 
collection dataset, becoming one of the larger contributors to Google Art Project, contributed 
collections to and launched the Object of the Day website feature.
A Facebook page for the project was created in October 2013. 
Summary of the first Facebook campaign which advertised the launch of the page. Screenshot taken Nov. 7, 2013.
A series of email campaigns will spread the news about Favelization's publication. Here is a copy of the email offering a preview of the book. Click here to download the preview!
The results of the first email marketing campaign as of Nov. 7, 2013.
A Pinterest board contains all the examples of favelization I have collected to date.
All tweets related to my research are tagged with #favelization.
Results of the promoted tweet campaign in October 2013 with a link to the book preview.
Here are some of the next steps...
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