Rethinking Human Zoos

  • Type de l’événement : Colloque
  • Lieu et date de l’événement : Institut Français (Londres), le 28-29 novembre 2008
  • Editeur/Partenaire  : Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies, Groupe de Recherche Achac, Liverpool University Press et l’Institut Français

  • Auteur : Society for Francophone Postcolonial Studies, Groupe de recherche ACHAC, Liverpool University Press et l’Institut Français


‘Human zoos’, forgotten symbols of the colonial era, have been largely repressed in collective memory. In these ‘anthropo-zoological’ exhibitions, ‘exotic’ individuals were placed alongside wild beasts and presented behind bars or in enclosures. Human zoos were a key factor in the progressive shift from scientifique to popular racism. Through Barnum’s freak shows, Hagenbeck’s ‘ethnic shows’, French-style villages nègres, as well as the great universal and colonial exhibitions, the West invented the ‘savage’, exhibited the ‘peoples of the world’, whilst in many cases preparing for or contributing to their colonisation. This first mass contact between ‘us’ and ‘them’, between the West and elsewhere, created an invisible border. Measured by scientists, exploited in shows, used in official exhibitions, these men, women and children became extras in cultures that were not their own. With the participation of Charles Forsdick, Sandrine Lemaire, Gilles Boetsch, Éric Deroo, Nicolas Bancel, Garry Sandison, Hilke Thode-Arora, Sadiah Qureshi, Herman Lebovics, Van Troi Tran, Jonathan Hensher, Annette Bickford, Scott Taylor.




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