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Envisioning the Nation

The Early American World’s Fairs and the Formation of Culture

The World’s Fairs staged in the United States in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries showcased world cultures in peaceful competition and cooperation. But as Astrid Böger shows in Envisioning the Nation, at the same time the fairs played important roles in the growth of nationalism and American exceptionalism, subtly recasting world history from an American point of view and thus laying the groundwork for American dominance in the twentieth century. Drawing on studies of the fairs’ architecture, sites, and scientific and cultural displays, as well as contemporaneous literary works that dealt with the fairs, Böger paints a richly contextualized portrait of these influential spectacles of national culture.

321 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 3/8 | © 2011

Culture Studies

History: American History

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Table of Contents


Introduction: The early American World’s Fairs as Sites of Cultural Formation

This is America: The 1853 Exhibition of the Industries of all Nations in New York

A Nation under Reconstruction: The 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia

Making Progress: The 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago

Contested Terrain: The 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis

New Horizons: The 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco

Works Cited
List of Illustrations

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