Spectacle, Identity, and Citizenship

Bay Area Ethnic and Racial Communities at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition
Event detail
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The San Francisco History Center invites you to join historian and author Abigail Markwyn for a talk on San Franciscans participation in the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition (PPIE). The Exposition offered visitors a magnificent spectacle, created not only by artists, concessionaires, exhibitors, and foreign nations, but also by local communities. Bay Area ethnic, racial, and religious groups all seized on the opportunity offered by the PPIE to forward their own version of their community, sometimes creating conflicts along the way. Abigail Markwyn will discuss the ways in which local groups, including Irish, German, African American, Chinese Americans and Catholics each participated in shaping the spectacle of the Fair.

Abigail Markwyn is associate professor of history at Carroll University in Waukesha, Wisconsin. She is author of Empress San Francisco: the Pacific Rim, the Great West, and California at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and co-editor of Gendering the Fair: Histories of Women and Gender at World’s Fairs.

More about Empress San Francisco: The Pacific Rim, The Great West, and California Panama-Pacific International Exposition:

When the more than 18 million visitors poured into the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco in 1915, they encountered a vision of the world born out of San Francisco's particular local political and social climate. By seeking to please various constituent groups ranging from the government of Japan to local labor unions and neighborhood associations, fair organizers generated heated debate and conflict about who and what represented San Francisco, California, and the United States at the world's fair. The PPIE encapsulated the social and political tensions and conflicts of pre–World War I California and presaged the emergence of San Francisco as a cosmopolitan cultural and economic center of the Pacific Rim. Empress San Francisco offers a fresh examination of this, one of the largest and most influential world's fairs, by considering the local social and political climate of Progressive Era San Francisco. Focusing on the influence exerted by women, Asians and Asian Americans, and working-class labor unions, among others, Abigail M. Markwyn offers a unique analysis both of this world's fair and the social construction of pre–World War I America and the West. 

Abigail Markwyn as guest blogger on What's on the 6th Floor?

Explore the online catalog for books about the PPIE (some are digitized!) and the online photo database. Start here with a map of the Fair.

RSVP and share the event on Facebook!

More events about the PPIE Centennial – www.ppie100.org

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