This seminar will examine the Chicago World's Fair of 1933-34, exploring the ways in which both domestic initiatives and contributions sponsored by different countries put forth ideas envisioning the future and progress as the U.S. emerged from the Great Depression.
An interdisciplinary seminar on a ground-breaking event that attracted more than 4,000,000 visitors, this conversation provides a virtual visit to the grounds of "A Century of Progress," the so-called world's fair in Chicago mounted in 1933 and then extended into 1934. Well-illustrated with period photographs of the exteriors and interiors of national pavilions, the conversation explores innovative technological and industrial displays, plans of the fairgrounds, and various ephemera designed to commemorate and advertise the event.
More broadly, this seminar aims to show the importance of how temporary exhibits such as this one reflect both cultural and political advancements and tensions of particular moments in history. In particular, this fair will be studied for the ways in which it staged both domestic and international economic and political priorities as various totalitarian regimes displayed their power via events such as the arrivals of the German Graf Zeppelin and Italian General Italo Balbo's historic transatlantic flight.
Led by an expert on modern and contemporary art, Dr. Jennie Hirsh, this interactive seminar will critically explore this historic world's fair through its architecture, events, and lasting legacy. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the ways in which political, cultural, artistic, and technological history converged at such events.
This seminar has been designed to be enjoyed as a standalone experience or as part of Dr. Hirsh's extended series spotlighting each World's Fair in turn. For more details, click here.
Jennie Hirsh (Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College) is a Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright Commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).
This conversation is suitable for all ages.
90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.