• The Raw and the Manufactured: Brazilian Modernity and National Identity as Projected in International Exhibitions (1862–1922)

Rezende, Livia Lazzaro, 2010, Thesis, The Raw and the Manufactured: Brazilian Modernity and National Identity as Projected in International Exhibitions (1862–1922) PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

This thesis discusses nineteenth- and early twentieth-century representations of Brazil, with em-phasis on Brazilian national identity and the country’s engagement with modernity. It addresses these broad themes by focusing on the national participation in key international exhibitions, from Brazil’s first official appearance at the International Exhibition of 1862 in London to the Brazilian Centennial Exposition held in Rio de Janeiro in 1922. Using a multidisciplinary theoretical and methodological framework, this thesis examines ‘national objects’ – exhibits, exhibition displays, publications and pavilions – shown at home and abroad. It questions what sort of national identity these objects materialised and how they propelled Brazilian experience of modernity.
Despite being a multicultural and diverse country, from 1862 to 1922 Brazil was frequently repre-sented by its exhibition commissioners as a homogeneous and cohesive nation. In less than a hun-dred years, Brazil turned from being a liberal but slavery-bound Empire to become an oligarchic Republic. Alongside manumission, urban expansion, and industrialisation, the nation underwent unprecedented political, economic, and cultural changes. These changes, however, were displayed differently at home and abroad. This thesis, thus, is concerned with the cleavages in the national representation from the Empire to the Republic and questions what sort of nation was being repre-sented abroad, and why.
This thesis reveals that the Brazilian exhibitionary efforts during this period largely excluded representations of its population, especially of those who did not conform to the modern and civi-lised images attributed to the nation by the state. It also sustains that, despite their commercial and economic imperatives, exhibitions were used by the Brazilian state, during Empire and Republic, for the affirmation and conservation of political power. This thesis is tested in five chapters. The first discusses previous attempts at studying exhibitions in Brazil and abroad, and defines the con-cepts considered in this thesis. The second chapter addresses issues of agency and representation by examining the imperial representation sent to the Centennial International Exhibition in Phila-delphia in 1876. The third chapter focuses on two exhibitions, one Imperial and one Republican, to enquire about ruptures and continuities in the Brazilian representation abroad. This chapter centres on the displays of Brazilian raw materials mounted at the Exposition Universelle of 1867 in Paris, and at the Louisiana Purchase International Exposition in St Louis in 1904. The fourth chapter examines objects that communicated Brazilian ‘civilisation and progress’ at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. These objects were used by the newly instated republi-can government to manipulate national historical symbols that legitimised their ascension to power and promoted them as the future. The final chapter investigates the Rio exhibition in 1922 as a place where modernisation and modernity were made visible for a Brazilian audience.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W290 Design studies not elsewhere classified
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2012 10:53
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2018 15:44
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1143
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