12 Sep 2022


The 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair

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Academic level: College

Paper type: Coursework

Words: 615

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The world fair Exposition was planned for several years that entailed improvement of the water supply of the city, development of neighborhood surrounding the city also and clearing of the parklands. This great event brought many achievements of art, science and industry that enabled to define the starting of the twentieth century. Its planner wanted to drive the point that St. Louis as a city was at the leading end of educational advances and technology (Rydell, 2013) 

Moreover, the construction of the Louisiana Purchase Exposition is a prominent gesture to investment, energy, and the commitment of St. Louis citizens. The building of the classical building was as a result of designers and civic planners joining hands to put it in place. The anthropology day that was organized by William J and McGee based on prejudice among the fair ethnic display and the civilized men only to measure physical prowess of savages. Hence resulting in a conflict between the old world that put more concern on the culture and new world that was concern with utilitarianism (Samuel, 2010) 

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The historians like Harris W. Rydell and an other anthropologist clearly helps to depict the starting of the shift in anthropological research from nineteenth-century evolutionary racial models to the cultural relativist paradigm that turned out to be the current pillar of American anthropology and also racism. Moreover, for Harris , the fair, modern structures, and the architecture were showing new technologies that were surrounded by primitive people that hoped that it was a reflection of what their cities would be like in the future. To him the woma n who was dressed strolling through the fair with their parasols he laments that the ground was well laid maintained and ordered where people could feel safe and always had something to do. ( Wurts, 2013) 

To Rydall, it was purposely done to promote America's new role as an overseas imperial power. While the juxtaposition of primitive and modern supported the of racial superiority. That is the depicting of a Filipino and Native American life displayed the westward expansion across the continent and oversea empire continually. To Jojola priorities in education in the fair were often overridden to be ethnographic display since they were choreographed to visitors. That is the large Japanese exhibit that was set during the Russo Japanese war that didn’t fit the stereotype. Although to Harris it was a presentation to the modern country with basically different ideas and traditions from the western countries. 

At some point, the Philippines made the decision to come to the fair but they faced tragedy on their way some died, and their death and their mourning to Americans they treated it as drama. Since they performed mourning rituals without accessing the body as it usually happened with the fairgoers to them, it was like any other performance thus undermining the authenticity of the display. The anthropological studies made of the Igorots and other Filipinos at the fair are used as clues to the grandfather's experiences and fate. A large number of Filipino scouts who were included in the display of them at the fair were representing the force for controlling them when the differences arose among the tribes. The narrator unable to trace the where about of his grandfather’s at the end of the fair concludes that maybe his skeleton is might be in the museum where the Philippines were preserved or rather his brain would be in the Smithsonian Institute where he finds the brains of the three igorots . (Appelbaum, 2012). 

In conclusion, the world fair display is used to discuss the architectural advancements and dual structures in the fair although it touches on primitive and modernity presentation of the people it helps to shape American framing on domestic and international contexts and ‘the other.’ 


Appelbaum, S. (Ed.). (2012). The Chicago World's Fair of 1893: A photographic record . Courier Corporation. 

Marshall, R. T., Goff, H. D., & Hartel, R. W. (2012). Ice cream . Springer. 

Rydell, R. W. (2013). All the world's a fair: Visions of empire at American international expositions, 1876-1916 . University of Chicago Press. 

Samuel, L. R. (2010). End of the innocence : The 1964-1965 New York World's Fair . Syracuse University Press. 

Wurts, R. (2013). The New York World's Fair, 1939/1940: in 155 Photographs by Richard Wurts and Others . Courier Corporation. 

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