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ERIC Number: EJ837174
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Pages: 24
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
From the Eiffel Tower to the Javanese Dancer: Envisioning Cultural Globalization at the 1889 Paris Exhibition
Young, Patrick
History Teacher, v41 n3 p339-362 May 2008
Arguably the two main attractions for visitors to the 1889 "Exposition Universelle" (Universal Exposition), the Eiffel Tower and the live dancers from the Dutch colony of Java make for a provocative juxtaposition. Constructed expressly for the 1889 Exhibition, Gustave Eiffel's 106-story iron lattice tower became not only the world's tallest structure at its debut, it also took on iconic status as a marker of French national prestige in its centenary year. While their renown has proven a less enduring one, the Javanese dancers at the Exhibition attracted an at-times almost delirious attention and fascination among the throngs of spectators, journalists, and artists who witnessed their live performances of courtly dance and music. The exhibitions are an extraordinarily rich resource for teaching, though using them as historical artifacts in the classroom does raise specific methodological and pedagogical issues that must be addressed at the outset. The alternative the author proposes is treating the exhibitions as, first and foremost, an "experience"--one organized principally around specific practices of display and viewing--and having students engage them interactively on those terms. Presenting historical source material from the exhibitions in two-dimensional fashion as mere artifact or evidence to be read like any other does a grave disservice to the essentially dynamic and participatory nature of these events. (Contains 49 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: France (Paris)