Over the past twenty years international and universal world expositions have been extensively researched as subjects of a thriving historiography with a distinctly comparative outlook. Numerous academic disciplines
– particularly under the impetus of transnational, global and post-colonial approaches – have contributed to our understanding of them as major events tightly linked to fundamental historical phenomena such as nationalism, globalization, imperialism, consumerism, mass society and culture, scientific and technological progress, modernization and modernity itself. The essays collected in this volume explore different aspects of nineteenth and twentieth-century world expositions from the perspective of social and political history, the history of literature and of the performing arts, the history of ethno-anthropology and cultural history in general. They exemplify the different ways world expositions have affected popular imagination, literary creativity, forms of public entertainment, and social and political agency. These original contributions add significantly to what is now recognized as an established and dynamic field of research.
Guido Abbattista, Professor of Modern History at the University of Trieste, specializes in eighteenth-century political and historical culture, with a focus on colonial/imperial issues and relations between Europe and the rest of the world. He has helmed several national and international research projects, including “Le tour du monde en un jour. World Expositions and National Cultures: Forms, Spaces and Languages in Europe and the United States”, whose results are presented in this edited volume.