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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 16 January 2009
At the World's Fair Congress of Anthropology in Chicago in 1915 Professor O. T. Mason explained the ethnological exhibit in the following terms: “The aim was to have each leading linguistic stock of peoples represented by collections of art products and by groups of life-size figures engaged in characteristic arts and industries serially in the alcoves.” A certain cultural confidence is manifest. Language is seen as the basis for “stocks” of peoples (stocks being a favourite classificatory measure for Darwinists and Financiers), and museum humanoids, engaged in representative and atomised industrial tasks, presented in serial order, become authoritative ways of coding behaviour, language and culture.
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