The exhibition of otherness. The travels of an Eskimo and her impresario in France, Italy and the Habsburg Empire in the first half of the 19th century
Azil was a young Eskimo who featured in a singular European tour organized by Signor Paganini between 1827 and 1843. She was exhibited in courts, salons and scientific cabinets, and also starred in a stage play in which she appeared as herself with a troupe of actors. In this article we try to reconstruct the modalities of exhibition of Azil taking as a reference a small pamphlet, republished several times in the years 1827-1843. The story of Azil makes a very interesting addition to the
... ition to the studies that have recently established the dimensions of the ethnoanthropological phenomenon of the exhibition of otherness. It emerges that in the Kingdom of Italy, above all in the liberal and fascist periods, this phenomenon was quite considerable and can take its place in the broader panorama of ethnoexhibitions featuring living human beings in Europe during the colonial and imperialist age. The episode we have reconstructed certainly does not suffice to be able to state that the exhibition of living human beings was common practice in Italy in the first half of the 19th century, but it does show how instances that originated in other European nations, where spectacles of this kind were more familiar, could readily find fortune in Italy.