Human zoo  

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From 1877 until 1912, the Jardin Zoologique d'Acclimatation was converted to "l'Acclimatation Anthropologique". In mid-colonialism, the curiosity of Parisians was attracted to the customs and lifestyles of foreign peoples. Nubians, Bushmen, Zulus and Inuit were "exhibited" in a human zoo. The exhibitions were a huge success. The number of visitors to the Jardin doubled, reaching the million mark.

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

A Human zoo (also called "ethnological expositions" or "Negro Villages") was a 19th and 20th century public exhibit of human beings usually in their natural or "primitive" state. These displays usually emphasized the cultural differences between indigenous and traditional peoples and Western publics. Ethnographic zoos were often predicated on unilinealism, scientific racism, and a version of Social Darwinism. A number of them placed indigenous people (particularly Africans) in a continuum somewhere between the great apes and human beings of European descent. For this reason, ethnographic zoos have since been criticized as highly degrading and racist.

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