Patricia A. Schechter

Date of Award

Spring 6-17-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in History



Physical Description

1 online resource (iii, 137 pages)


Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition (1905 : Portland, Or.), Imperialism -- Social aspects -- Oregon -- 20th century, Suffrage -- Oregon -- Portland -- History -- 20th century, Racism -- Oregon -- Portland -- History -- 20th century, Portland (Or.) -- Race relations -- History -- 20th century




This thesis examines the experiences of fairgoers at the Lewis and Clark Centennial, American Pacific Exposition and Oriental Fair held in Portland, Oregon from June to October of 1905. Historians have framed world's fairs and international expositions as sites of legitimating narratives and restagings of empire and nationhood. This thesis focuses on women, Asian Americans, and Native Americans who interrupted and disrupted the performance and exhibition of U.S. imperialism in the specific case of Portland, Oregon. It considers who benefitted from or endured loss in the demonstrations of imperial culture at the Fair. Following the premises that metropolitan and colonial histories should be considered in the same analytical field and that the systemic power of domestic imperialism in the United States extended beyond Native Americans into the experiences of most nonwhite American communities, this thesis adds a metropolitan approach to Native-American history and, in turn, applies a more colonial approach to the study of African-American, Asian-American, and working-class women's histories. In three chapters, this study explores a range of disruptions at the 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial - patched over by the Exposition's civic elites and overlooked by previous historians of the Fair - that shed light on the politics of race, class, and gender within the processes of empire and nation building in the turn-of-the-century West.

Persistent Identifier