Asian Self-Representation at World's Fairs

Research output: Book/ReportBook


International expositions or "world's fairs" are the largest and most important stage on which millions routinely gather to directly experience, express, and respond to cultural difference. Rather than looking at Asian representation at the hands of colonizing powers, something already much examined, this book instead focuses on expressions of an empowered Asian self-representation at world's fairs in the West after the so-called golden age of the exhibition. New modes of representation became possible as the older "exhibitionary order" of earlier fairs gave way to a dominant "performative order," one increasingly preoccupied with generating experience and affect. Using case studies of national representation at selected fairs over the hundred-year period from 1915-2015, this book considers both the politics of representation as well as what happens within the imaginative worlds of Asian country pavilions, where the performative has become the dominant mode for imprinting directly on human bodies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAmsterdam, The Netherlands
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages326
ISBN (Print)9789462985636
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameAsian Visual Cultures
PublisherAmsterdam University Press

Bibliographical note

William Peterson is Associate Professor of Drama and Research Theme Leader in Creativity for the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia. Author of Places for Happiness: Community, Self, and Performance in the Philippines (University of Hawai'i Press, 2016), Theatre and the Politics of Culture in Contemporary Singapore (Wesleyan 2001), and Asian Self-Representation at World’s Fairs (Amsterdam University Press 2020), Will's publications have largely focused on religion, dance and theatre in the Philiippines, mass events, English-language theatre in Singapore, Maori and Pakeha theatre in Aotearoa/New Zealand, international arts festivals, and interactions between Asia and the West through performance at international expositions.


  • Asian studies
  • Performance
  • visual culture

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    Peterson, W. (2020). Asian Self-Representation at World's Fairs. (Asian Visual Cultures). Amsterdam University Press.