Modernity on Display: International Exhibitions seminar

Modernity on Display: Technology, Science and the Culture Wars at International Expositions circa World War II

Thursday 4th April 2013, 4 – 7 p.m.
Boardroom, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW.

Professor Robert Kargon, Willis K. Shepard Professor of the History of Science, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore.
Dr Arthur Molella, Director, The Lemelson Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC.

International expositions are receiving significant attention from historians of science and technology, and of culture more generally. These complex events mirror ideological and national rivalries as well as domestic social, economic and political struggles. In short, they are remarkable indices of important historical tensions. Especially interesting are the international expositions planned and/or mounted just before the outbreak of the Second World War. These expositions reflected the political regimes of the host countries, and in some cases serious divisions within them. They also highlight increasingly tense ideological divisions between nations representing liberal or social democratic republics (France and the US), communist (Soviet Union) and reactionary modernist or fascist regimes such as Germany, Italy and Japan.

The book in progress on which this seminar will be based includes chapters about World’s Fairs and expositions from 1937 to 1942, drawing upon three actually built, Paris, 1937, Dusseldorf 1937 and New York 1939, and two planned in detail but, owing to the coming of war, never executed, Tokyo 1940 and Rome 1942. The presentations will use two examples – New York 1939 and Rome 1942 – to illuminate the representation of science and technology at these fairs as indicators of modernity as part of the on-going culture and propaganda wars preceding actual hostilities.

Organised by the Graduate School, University of Westminster

R.S.V.P. Sharon Sinclair,

Written by on Tuesday, posted in Event (No comments yet)
Tagged as , , , , ,

No comments yet

Leave a comment