Presenter's Name(s)

Courtney A. SmithFollow

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Nicole Phelps

Status

Graduate

Student College

Graduate College

Program/Major

History

Primary Research Category

Arts & Humanities

Presentation Title

My Fair Lady: Exotic Women on the Midway Plaisance and the Challenges to White Womanhood at the Chicago World's Fair

Time

10:30 AM

Location

Mildred Livak Ballroom

Abstract

Abstract:

Among the countless attractions of the Chicago World’s Fair, two of the most prominent were the Women’s Building, erected and organized by the Board of Lady Managers, and the adjacent Midway Plaisance with its ethnological exhibits and, in particular, its sensationalized performances of certain “exotic” women. The Women’s Building, situated at the edge of the fair’s shimmering White City, promoted an image of femininity coupled with Victorian conceptions of civilization and progress, while largely excluded members of non-white races. This paper explores the ways in which the presence of racially and ethnically diverse women on the Midway Plaisance challenged the ideals of womanhood promulgated by the Board of Lady Managers at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.

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My Fair Lady: Exotic Women on the Midway Plaisance and the Challenges to White Womanhood at the Chicago World's Fair

Abstract:

Among the countless attractions of the Chicago World’s Fair, two of the most prominent were the Women’s Building, erected and organized by the Board of Lady Managers, and the adjacent Midway Plaisance with its ethnological exhibits and, in particular, its sensationalized performances of certain “exotic” women. The Women’s Building, situated at the edge of the fair’s shimmering White City, promoted an image of femininity coupled with Victorian conceptions of civilization and progress, while largely excluded members of non-white races. This paper explores the ways in which the presence of racially and ethnically diverse women on the Midway Plaisance challenged the ideals of womanhood promulgated by the Board of Lady Managers at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893.