0127 The "Brazilian Native" on Display: Indianist Artwork and Ethnographic Exhibits at the World's Fairs, 1862-1889

  • Sven Schuster (Author)
    School of Humanities, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá, Colombia

    Sven Schuster obtained his PhD (2009) and his postdoctoral lecture qualification (2014) in Latin American History from the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Germany. Between 2005 and 2013, he worked as an Assistant Professor in Eichstätt, conducting research on Cultural History and History of Science, specializing in Brazil and Colombia. Between 2011 and 2013, he held a research position sponsored by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In this period, he also lectured at the Pontifical University of Rio de Janeiro and the Federal University of Goiás as a Visiting Professor. Since August 2013, he is Professor of History and Director of the History Program at the Universidad del Rosario, Colombia.

Identifiers (Article)


Between 1862 and 1889, the Empire of Brazil participated in the most important world's fairs in Europe and North America. Although these mass gathering events focused on technological development and commodities, representations of Brazil's population and culture also played an important role in the elites' project to promote a "progressive and civilized" country abroad. Nevertheless, the exhibition planners not only displayed machines, scientific instruments and manufactures goods. For them, it was equally important to combine ideas of modernity with the celebration of a glorious pre-Columbian past. By this line of thought, the Empire of Brazil emerged as the result of a long-term teleological process, taking ancient indigenous cultures as its historical starting point. However, this discourse, as exemplified by Indianist artwork and ethnographic exhibits, was highly ambivalent.


Brazil, Visual Culture, Nineteenth Century, Indianism, Ethnography, World's Fairs, Exhibitions