The Institute for the Study of International Expositions (ISIE) presents “New Perspectives on National Pavilions at World Fairs”
The second Lecture: “The Wild West meets Rome: Roman Architecture at The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, Omaha (1898)” by Elizabeth Macaulay (CUNY) will be held online on February 27, 2023, 6pm EST (February 28, 2023, 10am AEDT)
The Institute for the Study of International Expositions (ISIE) presents its 2023 Speaker Series “New Perspectives on National Pavilions at World Fairs,” which focuses on country/region specific presentations and representations at past world fairs. The ISIE Speaker Series second lecture will be held online via Zoom (with previous registration required) on February 27, 2023, at 6pm EST (February 28, 2023, 10am AEDT).
The goal of the series is to share and support exposition scholarship across disciplines and to provide the opportunity to exchange ideas with everyone interested in international expositions, from scholars, researchers, participants, and developers to those who cherish the memory of having visited one.
The second lecture “The Wild West meets Rome: Roman Architecture at The Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, Omaha (1898)” will be presented by Elizabeth Macaulay, Associate Professor and Executive Officer of the Liberal Studies program at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City. Her research focuses on the gardens and architecture of the Middle East and North Africa in the Classical and Islamic periods, as well as in their reception.
The “Trans-Mississippi” region, composed of twenty-four states and 2.6 square million miles of land, was initially conceived of and described as the “Great American Desert,” not because of its fertile soil but because it was so sparely populated. This narrative gave way to one of settlement and progress as the region became home to white farmers, who displaced Native Americans.
The Fair’s goal was to demonstrate that Omaha and the “Trans-Mississippi” region were economically important to the United States. This paper argues that the organizers of the Fair looked primarily to Roman architecture, including triumphal arches and columnar facades, to create the Fair’s main court and that the architecture was purposefully modeled on that of Chicago’s Court of Honor to demonstrate that Omaha was the equal of Chicago and New York. The entertainment zone, where ancient Egyptian architecture was also erected, is considered; again, this architecture falls into the tradition of Orientalizing and othering of non-western architecture that is common at these fairs.
To register, see this link.