Michael Hawkins on the Moro Village at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition

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 While the physical #AAS2020 Annual Conference has been canceled, we’ve created this new online portal so you can take advantage of the book deals normally only given to conference attendees. Our featured Asian studies books are now available to everyone with our special virtual booth 40%discount—use the promo code 09EXP40 to save. Enjoy!

In this post, we ask author Michael C. Hawkins some questions about his new book Semi-Civilized: The Moro Village at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, and his research on Filipino Muslims’ contributions to the St. Louis World’s Fair.

What’s your favorite anecdote from your research for this book?

In 1904 William McGee and James Sullivan, directors of the Departments of Anthropology and Physical Culture at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, respectively, developed a fierce rivalry concerning athletic training and performance. McGee argued that athletic ability derived from environmental necessity, while Sullivan was a rabid proponent of modern athletic training methods. This debate was characterized by bold racial and civilizational overtones. Their views were eventually tested in a grand event known as Anthropology Days, or the “Savage Olympics,” where “live exhibits” from the Exposition competed in a variety of events designed to measure their athletic proximity to whites. Filipino Muslims were among the key figures in this grand experiment.   

How do you wish you could change the field of International Studies?

I would love to see greater investment and support for Southeast Asian Studies at institutions across the world. It continues to be an underrepresented region, yet critical to our understanding of global history and many contemporary issues. 

Michael C. Hawkins is Associate Professor of History and Chair of the Department of History at Creighton University. He is author of Making Moros.

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