Organized by Patrícia Ferraz de Matos (ICS-UL), the panel P003 of the 16th EASA Biennial Conference, under the general topic: “New anthropological horizons in and beyond Europe”, will be debating the topic: “World Fairs, Exhibitions, and Anthropology: Revisiting Contexts of Post/Colonialism”, on Thursday 23 July, from 8:30-10:15 and 11:00-12:45.
Since the eighteenth century, world fairs and great expositions—industrial or otherwise—appeared as outstanding popular-culture genres. Held in Europe on different occasions, including the coronation of kings, celebrating countries’ establishments, and achievements of the Western world, their popularity continued in the USA and beyond. Inspired by Marcel Mauss, Burton Benedict (1983) characterized world fairs as “enormous potlaches” and “ritual feasts of wealth and power.” Some fairs included human exhibitions to show the “vision of empire” (Rydell 1985), which raises the issue of agency (Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, 1998). In the nineteenth century, when anthropology began to institutionalize, scientists, specifically anthropologists collaborated with the organization of these exhibitions (Hinsley and Wilcox, 2015). Exhibiting cultures in world fairs or in contemporary museums continue to raise important issues, such as the ownership of objects displayed and the ways in which the history of colonization is presented, as most of the time, the subjects belong to the colonizers and not to the colonized.
More informations about the panel, click here.