Displaying indigeneities to a settler colonial audience: Keith P. Feldman, ‘Seeing is Believing: U.S. Imperial Culture and the Jerusalem Exhibit of 1904’, Studies in American Jewish Literature, 35, 1, 2016, pp. 98-118
Abstract: What are the historical proximities and parallels linking Jews and Muslims in U.S. imperial culture? What are the technologies of knowledge production that make and make sense of these connections, and what are their effects? The Jerusalem Exhibit at 1904’s Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis offers a generative site through which to consider these questions. The exhibit included hundreds of “native” Muslim, Christian, and Jewish inhabitants, and exemplified a national covenantalism at the interface of U.S. settler colonialism and imperial rule. Visuality played a key role in staging and naturalizing racial difference between and among these various “natives,” even as its will towards transparency was routinely thwarted. While such overdetermined pedagogical labor never satisfied the predilections of American imperial authority, by the end of the exhibit’s run, it also served as an impetus to express political Zionism’s desires for Jewish nation-state status commensurate with other political formations organizing the World’s Fair.
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