Posted on Wednesday 2nd November 2011
Ideas Lab talks to Dr Sadiah Qureshi, lecturer in Modern History at the University of Birmingham, about her fascinating new book, 'Peoples on Parade: Exhibitions, Empire, and Anthropology in Nineteenth-Century Britain', which looks at the commercial exhibition of living foreign peoples in the 19th Century. Although horrifying for modern audiences to contemplate, throughout the 19th Century up until the mid-20th Century, foreign peoples were imported to this country and others to perform songs, ceremonies and dances in various shows and exhibitions, which were attended by the paying Victorian public in their thousands. At the height of their popularity, exhibitions of this kind could be seen at local theatres, museums, world fairs (such as the 1851 Great Exhibition in the vast Crystal Palace in London's Hyde Park) and even zoos. Thankfully, these shows have now been consigned to history. But as Sadiah explains, they're not as distant a memory as we would perhaps like them to be.
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