Anthropology Goes to the Fair: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition

Overview

World's fairs and industrial expositions constituted a phenomenally successful popular culture movement during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to the newest technological innovations, each exposition showcased commercial and cultural exhibits, entertainment concessions, national and corporate displays of wealth, and indigenous peoples from the colonial empires of the host country.

As scientists claiming specialized knowledge about indigenous peoples, ...

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Overview

World's fairs and industrial expositions constituted a phenomenally successful popular culture movement during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In addition to the newest technological innovations, each exposition showcased commercial and cultural exhibits, entertainment concessions, national and corporate displays of wealth, and indigenous peoples from the colonial empires of the host country.

As scientists claiming specialized knowledge about indigenous peoples, especially American Indians, anthropologists used expositions to promote their quest for professional status and authority. Anthropology Goes to the Fair takes readers through the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition to see how anthropology, as conceptualized by W J McGee, the first president of the American Anthropological Association, showcased itself through programs, static displays, and living exhibits for millions of people "to show each half of the world how the other half lives." More than two thousand Native peoples negotiated and portrayed their own agendas on this world stage. The reader will see how anthropology itself was changed in the process.

Nancy J. Parezo is a professor of American Indian studies and anthropology at the University of Arizona and the curator of ethnology at the Arizona State Museum. She is the editor of Hidden Scholars: Women Anthropologists and the Native American Southwest. Don D. Fowler is a professor of anthropology, emeritus, at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author of A Laboratory for Anthropology: Science and Romanticism in the American Southwest, 1846-1930.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"Fascinating details and readable style make this a compelling account of the US's last great, naive exposition of 19th-century empire building."—H. G. Kong, CHOICE

— H. G. Kong

Journal of American History

“Well organized and written. The authors have researched extensively in exposition company files, the papers of McGee and others with whom he worked (or quarreled), and the archives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other agencies connected with the exposition. A large body of secondary sources provides background and context. More than fifty illustrations add a visual dimension to the book.”—John E. Findling, Journal of American History

— John E. Findling

North Carolina Historical Review

"Anthropology Goes to the Fair is a major contribution to the history of racial thought and the history of anthropology."—John David Smith, North Carolina Historical Review

— John David Smith

Journal of American Ethnic History

"Nancy Parezo and Don Fowler's Anthropology Goes to the Fair provides a comprehensive contribution to the literature on the world fair phenomenon, focusing explicitly on the display of indigenous peoples at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. This fascinating and well-written work accomplishes a number of new things."—Mary Neuburger, Journal of American Ethnic History

— Mary Neuburger

Journal of Arizona History

"[Anthropology Goes to the Fair] is a rollicking examination of what one might today regard as an insane enterprise. It affords valuable insight into the origins and early evolution of American anthropology, as well as an understanding of early twentieth-century social mores of the American people."—Bernard L. Fontana, Journal of Arizona History

— Bernard L. Fontana

Choice - H. G. Kong

"Fascinating details and readable style make this a compelling account of the US's last great, naive exposition of 19th-century empire building."—H. G. Kong, CHOICE
Journal of American History - John E. Findling

“Well organized and written. The authors have researched extensively in exposition company files, the papers of McGee and others with whom he worked (or quarreled), and the archives of the Bureau of Indian Affairs and other agencies connected with the exposition. A large body of secondary sources provides background and context. More than fifty illustrations add a visual dimension to the book.”—John E. Findling, Journal of American History

North Carolina Historical Review - John David Smith

"Anthropology Goes to the Fair is a major contribution to the history of racial thought and the history of anthropology."—John David Smith, North Carolina Historical Review
Journal of American Ethnic History - Mary Neuburger

"Nancy Parezo and Don Fowler's Anthropology Goes to the Fair provides a comprehensive contribution to the literature on the world fair phenomenon, focusing explicitly on the display of indigenous peoples at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904. This fascinating and well-written work accomplishes a number of new things."—Mary Neuburger, Journal of American Ethnic History
Journal of Arizona History - Bernard L. Fontana

"[Anthropology Goes to the Fair] is a rollicking examination of what one might today regard as an insane enterprise. It affords valuable insight into the origins and early evolution of American anthropology, as well as an understanding of early twentieth-century social mores of the American people."—Bernard L. Fontana, Journal of Arizona History
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Product Details

Meet the Author


Nancy J. Parezo is a professor of American Indian studies and anthropology at the University of Arizona and the curator of ethnology at the Arizona State Museum. She is the editor of Hidden Scholars: Women Anthropologists and the Native American Southwest. Don D. Fowler is a professor of anthropology, emeritus, at the University of Nevada, Reno. He is the author of A Laboratory for Anthropology: Science and Romanticism in the American Southwest, 1846-1930.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
Series Editors' Introduction     xi
Prologue: Setting the Stage for St. Louis     1
Organizing the Louisiana Purchase Exposition     15
WJ McGee and the Science of Man     35
Planning the Anthropology Department and Model Indian School     52
Assembling the "Races of Mankind"     73
Presenting Worthy Indians     100
The Model Indian School     135
The Philippine Reservation     164
The Anthropology Villages     194
The Polyglot Pike     234
Being a Living Exhibit     266
In the Anthropology Building     295
Anthropological Performances     324
Celebrating the Fair and Going Home     358
The Experiences of an Exposition     377
Epilogue: Passing into History and Moving On     391
McGee's Racial Classification Schemes     403
Native Participants     405
Notes     417
References     469
Index     511
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