The Victorian-era World’s Fairs were marvelous meetings of different peoples, cultures, inventions, and technologies, and they fascinated the world for more than a century. Starting with the 1851 Great Exhibition in London, these fairs highlighted the industrial, exploratory, and colonial activities of the Western powers. A dark side of these fairs was the display of indigenous and colonized peoples in “Human Zoos” as a way to highlight the evolutionary inferiority of these populations. Anthropologist Dr. Louise Krasniewicz will take you on a tour of these fairs and their strange exhibits, exploring the displays of indigenous people as well as their own responses to these exhibits.
Dr. Louise Krasniewicz is an anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania who studies popular culture, fan culture, worldbuilding, the movies, and World’s Fairs. She has previously presented several lectures on World’s Fair topics at the Steampunk World’s Fair.