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Human Zoos or Ethnic Shows? Essence and contingency in Living Ethnological Exhibitons

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Sánchez Gómez, Luis Ángel (2013) Human Zoos or Ethnic Shows? Essence and contingency in Living Ethnological Exhibitons. Culture & History Digital Journal, 2 (2). pp. 1-25. ISSN eISSN 2253-797X

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Official URL: doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3989/chdj.2013.022



Abstract

[ABSTRACT] The aim of this article is to study the living ethnological exhibitions. The main feature of these
multiform varieties of public show, which became widespread in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century
Europe and the United States, was the live presence of individuals who were considered “primitive”. Whilst these native peoples sometimes gave demonstrations of their skills or produced manufactures for the audience, more often their role was simply as exhibits, to display their bodies and gestures, their different and singular condition. In this article, the three main forms of modern ethnic show (commercial, colonial and missionary) will be presented, together with a warning about the inadequacy of categorising all such spectacles under the label of “human zoos”, a term which has become common in both academic and media circles in recent years.
[RESUMEN] ¿Zoos humanos o espectáculos étnicos? Esencia y contingencia en las exposiciones etnológicas ‘vivas’.-
El objetivo del artículo es estudiar las exhibiciones etnológicas vivas, una multiforme modalidad de espectáculo
público que se extiende durante la segunda mitad del siglo XIX y la primera mitad del XX y que presenta como característica esencial la presentación “en vivo” de individuos considerados primitivos. Aunque tales personajes, los nativos, en ocasiones ejecutan ciertas destrezas o elaboran determinadas manufacturas de cara al público, lo más habitual es que su único cometido sea mostrarse a sí mismos, exhibir sus cuerpos y sus gestos, su condición diferente y singular. Revisamos las tres principales formas de show étnico moderno (comercial, colonial y misional) y advertimos sobre lo inadecuado de englobar todos estos espectáculos bajo el calificativo de “zoos humanos”, expresión que se ha extendido tanto en el ámbito académico como en el mediático durante los últimos años.


Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Anthropological Exhibitions; Colonial Exhibitions; Colonialism; Christian Missions; Racism; Exoticism; Ethnography; Völkerschauen; Exposiciones etnológicas; Exposiciones coloniales; Colonialismo; Misiones cristianas; Racismo; Exotismo; Antropología; Völkerschauen
Subjects:Humanities > History
Humanities > History > Modern history
Social sciences > Sociology > Anthropology
ID Code:24083
Deposited On:07 Jan 2014 19:04
Last Modified:17 Dec 2018 08:57

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