A Savage at the Wedding and the Skeletons in My Closet: My Great-Grandfather, Igorotte Villages, and the Ethnological Expositions of the 1900s
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
This reflexive paper will put the current state of anthropology into context by looking at the involvement of the discipline during my great-grandfather's days as a showman who exhibited members of the Philippine Bontoc Igorot tribe at expositions and amusement parks from 1905-1912. Richard Schneidewind, a Detroit-born veteran of the Spanish-American War, ran a tobacco concession at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair Philippine Exhibition. Inspired by what he saw, he returned to the Philippines to recruit Bontoc Igorot men and women for his own ethnological road show. Many anthropologists at the time favored these exhibits as a sort of educational entertainment, and Schneidewind's Igorrote Villages supplied research data to such well-known figures as Alfred Kroeber and Alfred Cort Haddon. Newspaper clippings in family scrapbooks illustrate the amount of media attention touring savages received and how this attention helped form public opinion about anthropology, human variation and American imperialism. I will also discuss the impact of this part of my family history on my own work as a 21st century anthropologist, particularly how it has propelled me into my own interactions and collaborations with Igorot activists and scholars.
American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Weibel-Swanson, Deana, "A Savage at the Wedding and the Skeletons in My Closet: My Great-Grandfather, Igorotte Villages, and the Ethnological Expositions of the 1900s" (2011). Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants. 241.