Dr Shahmima Akhtar (RHUL), ‘"Ireland on the Midway": the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893'
Heralding the United States as the “Land of our hope!”, the Columbian Exposition held in Chicago in 1893 contained a cornucopia of both material objects and embodied displays. From industrial treasures, to arts and crafts, from emblems of mechanised progress to cultural artefacts and people – all celebrated aspects of the West were lauded in visual form. An in-between place operated in the form of the Midway Plaisance, acting as the visual and physical bridge between progress and development, where there were two Irish Villages, which this paper interrogates in further detail.
Shahmima Akhtar is a lecturer in history at Royal Holloway University of London. She is a historian of race, migration and empire, and teaches on the history of world’s fairs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in Britain and the United States, with a particular focus on Ireland. She is interested in constructions of whiteness, the intersections between display, and the visual in identity making. Taking a cultural approach to the study of history, she maps modes of knowledge production as it relates to marginalised communities within the British Empire.
This event will be held both in person in the Irish Studies Seminar Room and online via MS Teams.
Please register via Eventbrite