Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase by Nancy J. Parezo

By Nancy J. Parezo

World’s festivals and commercial expositions constituted a phenomenally winning pop culture circulate in the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. as well as the most recent technological ideas, each one exposition showcased advertisement and cultural shows, leisure concessions, nationwide and company monitors of wealth, and indigenous peoples from the colonial empires of the host country.
As scientists claiming really expert wisdom approximately indigenous peoples, particularly American Indians, anthropologists used expositions to advertise their quest for pro prestige and authority. Anthropology is going to the Fair takes readers during the 1904 Louisiana buy Exposition to work out how anthropology, as conceptualized through W J McGee, the 1st president of the yankee Anthropological organization, showcased itself via courses, static screens, and dwelling shows for hundreds of thousands of individuals  “to express every one half the area how the opposite part lives.” greater than thousand local peoples negotiated and portrayed their very own agendas in this international level. The reader will see how anthropology itself used to be replaced within the process.

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3 By 1902 the lpec Board had selected Forest Park as the fair site. The 657acre tract of virgin forest, located away from the crowded downtown area, was surrounded by stately homes and large tracts of agricultural land. 4 The overall plan (figs. 3) centered on Festival Hall, sited on a hilltop. ” The major exhibition buildings fanned out on either side of the cascades (fig. 4), and this area was referred to as the Main Picture. The twenty-four-acre Palace of Agriculture, the horticulture and forestry palaces, foreign pavilions, an athletic field, a stadium, and an aeronautic con- Organizing the Louisiana Purchase Exposition | 17 Fig.

In an obituary, Frederick Webb Hodge described him as “a man of commanding presence, of remarkable mental vitality, ingenuity, and versatility, and of almost fanatical perseverance. ” He also vigorously promoted anthropology by “wielding influence less by original contributions than by position” (Hodge 1912, 686; Hinsley 1981, 232). If McGee was respected for his organizational abilities, colleagues were skeptical about his skills as an ethnological fieldworker or theoretician. His anthropological research was designed to “prove” his and Powell’s ideas about the development of human institutions rather than a quest to record or un- 38 | WJ McGee and the Science of Man derstand distinctive cultures.

This led George Brown Goode, the Smithsonian’s assistant secretary, to rethink exposition and public museum purposes and their exhibits philosophies. He first focused on systems of classification. The problems of classifying material culture — from machines to vegetables — worried all exposition officials. They needed order so visitors would not be disoriented by a massive jumble; and they needed mutually exclusive groups for purposes of awards. The first systematic attempt was at the 1867 Paris Exposition with ten major groups, each with twenty classes containing dozens of related (in the eyes of the classifiers) types.

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