Welcome to humanzoos.net – the first online archive on human zoos.
This homepage aims to be a guide for people interested in the phenomenon of human zoos, especially the visual remnants. The core of this archive is the Collection Radauer consisting of over 1500 postcards, photographs, publicity materials, newspaper articles and other items linked to the exhibition of “exotic” people in Europe and the USA.
The Welcome page also includes the “news” section (below)
The Human Zoos page features an introduction on the topic of human zoos (will be extended soon)
The Collection Radauer page allows access to the archive sorted by different categories
An image from the Collection Radauer is featured in the permanent exhibition “Zurückgeschaut” – which translates to “looking back” – at the Museum Treptow in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition focuses on the Colonial Exhibition that was part of the Berliner Gewerbeausstellung in 1896. 104 people from German colonies participated and staged their “traditional life” for the visitors. Their lives before and after the Colonial Exhibition are the main topic of the exhibition.
Two images from the Collection Radauer were featured in a very interesting article on a Cobra that was found in the German countryside in 1911. Since Cobras are not native to Germany the author of the paper, Andre Koch, figures the snake could have got left behind or escaped from a human zoo from India that took place in that area in that year: “Gustav Hagenbeck’s größte Völkerschau der Welt“. Read the article (in German) here.
The Swiss literature magazine Orte – Schweizer Literaturzeitschrift featured an article about Switzerlands role in Colonialism in its March issue. One of the pictures was an original flyer from the Collection Radauer.
The catalan history magazine Sapiens featured an article about human zoos in its September issue. Two of the pictures were original photographs from the Collection Radauer.
The Goethe Institute Addis Abeba used two postcards of the Collection Radauer for an exhibition called “Cultural Research in Northeastern Africa” – about the unusual relationship between Ethiopia and Germany during the past three centuries.
One of the interresting stories featured in the exhibition is that of Muhammad Nur – a scholar from British Somaliland who came to Germany with a human zoo in 1910 and stayed there until 1922 working for different istitutions such as the ‘Kolonialinstitut’ (Institute for Colonial Affairs) and the University of Hamburg.
The Kunsthalle Mannheim is showing an exhibition on Ernst Ludwig Kirchner – one of the founders of the artists group “Die Brücke” – called Der Doppelte Kirchner. The title of the exhibition refers to the often forgotten sketches/paintings on the backside of Kirchner’s works – which is an effect of the recycling of canvases by simply turning them around.
from 06.02.2015 until 31.05.2014
In the 1910s Kirchner visited human zoos and sketched the participants and therefor two postcards of the Collection Radauer are used in the exhibition catalogue for reference.
Les éditions du Crieur Publique did a review on an article on human zoos in the July 2014 edition of P.M. Magazine which focusses on the history of human zoos in Germany. In this article a postcard from the Collection Radauer was used.
A picture of the Collection Radauer is used in an online exhibition of the Hampshire College’s Institute for Curatorial Practice (ICP) called Sometimes a Traveller: Women, Othered Bodies, and the Colonizing Gaze.
» This exhibition understands that the position of being a subject is one of immense power and was historically granted almost only to white men, who then used their privileges to objectify racialized female bodies through othering representation–what we here call the “colonizing gaze.” «