Thursday, April 06, 2017

A human zoo of "exotic peoples" to entertain the Europeans

"The history of the African Quarter goes back to the late 19th century, when the animal trader Carl Hagenbeck devised a grand plan for Berlin: a permanent zoo that would exhibit both wild animals and humans. Even before it hosted the 1884-5 Berlin Conference at which European imperial powers wrangled for control of Africa, Germany had enthusiastically embraced the spirit of colonialism. Hagenbeck’s zoo would be a celebration of the German colonial project and its spoils, from German South-West Africa (present-day Namibia) to German East Africa (present-day Burundi, Rwanda and mainland Tanzania). It would build on the success of his “exotic peoples” exhibits (Völkerschau) all over Europe."