Titre : Human Zoos. The Invention of the Savage

Auteur : Edited by Blanchard Pascal, Boëtsch Gilles and Jacomijn Snoep Nanette Introduction by Lilian Thuram

Editeur/partenaire : Actes Sud / Musée du quai Branly

Texte :

The West invented the “savage”. It did so in a huge spectacle, with its performers, its stage sets, its impresarios, its dramas and its incredible narratives. This story has been forgotten, and yet it stands at the intersection of colonial history, the history of science and the history of the world of spectacle and of the grandiose world’s fairs that shaped international relations for over a century. This was the age of human exhibitions, the time of “scientific racism”, a time when men came to see “monsters” or “exotics”, not for what they did, but for what they were thought to be. These popular events produced a multitude of images designed to fascinate and persuade the public. Published on the occasion of a major exhibition at the Musée du Quai Branly, this anthology brings together some five hundred remarkable documents and items from this period, taken from public and private collections and in many cases never previously shown, which it presents alongside analyses by seventy specialists from around the world. Organised in three sections, the twelve chapters in this book take readers through the history of human zoos. With over a billion visitors coming to see tens of thousands of human exhibits, this international phenomenon which began in the 16th century reached its apogee in the first third of the 20th, accompanying the growth of empires and affecting people all around the planet as it manufactured a single, universal model of the “savage” in a kind of early version of globalisation, a model applied from Tokyo to Hamburg, from Chicago to London, from Paris to Barcelona and from Basel to Johannesburg. By exploring the many traces of this forgotten past, we can observe how the idea of domination spread through the world in a relatively short space of time. This book explores the sometimes porous frontiers between “exotics” and “monsters,” science and voyeurism, exhibition and spectacle, and challenges readers to reconsider the images through which they view today’s world. If human zoos disappeared in the 1930s, they were nevertheless effective in dividing humanity into two categories, and we are only just beginning to understand the power of what, at the time, was merely curiosity.


This catalog includes nearly 70 contributions: Robert Bogdan, William H. Schneider, Christine Barthe, Volker Barth, Sylvie Chalaye, Éric Deroo, Pierre Fournié, Sandrine Lemaire, Guido Abbattista, Nicola Labanca, Hilke Thode-Arora, Nicolas Bancel, Charles Forsdick, Karel Arnaut, Dominique Chevé, Michelle Hethrington, Live Yu Sion, Catherine Servan-Schreiber, Peter J. Bloom, Mari Jo Arnoldi, Angelika Friederici, Nicolas Menut, Elke Bujok, Donald Smith, Suzane Preston-Blier, Frederica Tamarozzi, Toru Sakano, Joël Dauphiné, Neus Moyano, Arnaud Nanta, Patrick Minder, Michèle Delaney, Catherine Hodeir, Roselyn Poignant, Anne Maxwell, Farid Abdelouahab, Robert W. Rydell, Maarten Couttenier, Rea Brändle, Catherine Coquery-Vidrovitch, Laurick Zerbini, Alexander C.T. Geppert, John M. MacKenzie, Nadège Piton, Anne Maxwell, Frederica Tamarozzi, Anne Décoret-Ahiha, Panivong Norindr, Nathalie Morena, Lucile Pouthier, Gérard Collomb, Olivier Barlet, David Murphy, Yves Leonard, Herman Lebovics, Bernard Andrieu, Sabine Cornélis, Yacine Hamoud, Vivianne Perret, Isabelle Veyrat-Masson, Olivier Razak, Christian Baez, Achille Mbembe...

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