Anthropology - Apply Your Knowledge
1. You are a time-traveling anthropologist! You have been sent back in time from the present year to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Using the Internet Archive, search for anthropology materials from the 1893 Fair. (Some of these materials include books of artifacts with introductory essays about different tribes.) Looking at one or more sources, analyze the anthropology of the Fair within the context of the statement on race you have looked at from the AAA, the "Protocols for Native American Archive Materials," and the policies of the National Museum of the American Indian.
• Prepare a report for your fellow anthropologists back in your time. Reflect on how anthropology has developed since 1893, and the problems that the field of anthropology still has in dealing with sensitive subjects. Make sure to address the different places of anthropology: the Anthropology building and the Midway.
• Prepare a paper for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition International Congress of Anthropology in which you make an argument for anthropology based on the AAA statement. Remember that your audience is on the cutting edge of anthropological science in 1893. How will you appeal to them? Use Google Books to browse through the articles in Charles Staniland Wake, Memoirs of the International Congress of Anthropology (Chicago: Schulte, 1894) in order to get a sense of what your colleagues in 1893 thought was interesting to study as anthropologists. You will also see what kind of language they use to describe their subjects and what kinds of methodologies they use to undertake their studies.
o The International Congress of Anthropology was part of the series of World's Congresses on different topics, held as part of the World's Congress Auxiliary of the World's Columbian Exposition during the opening days of the Fair. The Anthropology Congress took place from August 28, 1893- September 2, 1893. It was essentially an academic conference, made up of academic men and women giving papers on different anthropological topics, which were then published in a collection called the Memoirs of the International Congress of Anthropology (see citation above). Many of these articles described research about specific anthropological topics, but a few also discussed the field in general.
• You can also be an 1893 anthropologist visiting a museum of today. How does it differ from what you were expecting? How does it challenge the science that you understand? How does it reinforce what you already know? Use specific examples.
2. Visit the Field Museum website and explore the materials that they have collected from the Anthropology building. Go to the link: http://www.fieldmuseum.org/columbianexpo/ and follow the links for the Collection Database. You can search by region (Americas) and then narrow your search (U.S./ Canada). What sorts of materials have been preserved from the original Anthropology collection?
• How could these artifacts be used to support claims that would further racist beliefs based on scientific explanation?
• Using a selection of artifacts, create an exhibit that is more culturally sensitive and in line with the protocols you read in section 5. Create short descriptions for the materials you found. Why did you choose these materials and descriptions?
3. Pretend you are one of the American Indians in the parade on the Midway. Write a letter home describing your experience working on the Midway. Consider these questions as you write home:
a. How did it feel to be a performer in a living exhibit?
b. What were the reactions of the visitors? What explanation do you have for their reaction?
c. What were some of the things that you saw on the Midway? What did you learn, what did you like, what did you hate? Why?
4. Imagine you are an American Indian leader. You have been invited to participate in the World’s Fair! Based on what you know about the representation of your people at the fair, will you participate? Prepare a pamphlet arguing for or against your participation.
a. In thinking about your argument, look at the pamphlet prepared by Fredrick Douglass, Ida B. Wells, and others about African American participation at the fair, found here. What issues does he address? Do they relate to the American Indian experience at all? If so, how?
b. Make sure to address what benefits or drawbacks participation might have for your people. Give concrete examples.
c. You may want to include pictures to support your arguments. How will these images work to support your points? What captions will you give them? How will they be placed, and how will you use them to make your case?