In nineteenth-century Britain people of other races and cultures were put on display for commercial gain. These performing ‘noble savages’ are analysed in terms of cultural commentary of the time. Lindfors also traces the way in which the performers were viewed as a representation of ‘otherness’ and evidence of British cultural superiority. These displays coincided with the abolition of slavery and thus performed racism and imperialism in a socially acceptable manner. Lindfors suggests that in an era of burgeoning colonialism, these shows reveal more about the anxieties of the impresarios and audiences, and their need to assert their own racial and cultural superiority, than about the performers themselves.
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