Further into Imperfecta

Living Curiosities: Agency and Exploitation of the Teratological Body

As you read, think of yourself as an audience member in these various historical shows. Instead of simply sitting back to enjoy the show, ask yourself about the choices involved in what you are seeing. How are the performers displayed? What are they wearing, what are they performing? Are they presenting their “real” selves or a character? Who makes decisions about the show and the performances you are seeing?

The two paths linked below examine two sides of this story: the ways in which those individuals had agency in their display and how their bodies were monetized; and the ways in which societal structures and individuals led to the exploitation of those individuals.

For a brief audio introduction to some of the ideas and people discussed further in the exhibit, take a moment to listen to this excerpt from episode 143 of the Backstory podcast, entitled Body Politics.

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