For more than a century, people were taken from their homelands and exhibited in human zoos. They were displayed alongside animals. This little known and deeply disturbing part of colonial history played an important part in the development of modern racism.
Between 1810 and 1940, nearly 35 thousand people were exhibited in world fairs, colonial exhibitions, zoos, freak shows, circuses and reconstructed ethnic villages in Europe, America and Japan.
Some 1.5 billion visitors attended these events. Using previously unpublished archive material this documentary traces how racism was constructed and disseminated in these so-called ‘human zoos’. Children, women and men were displayed like exotic animals, and ordered in a hierarchy of "races." They were cast as ‘Other’ in a manner that served to justify colonialism, and described as ‘savage’. It is a little known and deeply disturbing part of colonial history. Only a handful of the thousands of men and women recruited from the four corners of the Earth ever managed to tell their experiences.
This documentary tells their story.
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