A New American Freak Show



This chapter provides a historical framework for the rest of the book by tracing the history of the freak show in Europe and America, focusing on the latter, from antiquity through its decline in the early twentieth century. The chapter develops a theoretical framework that includes a discussion about the viewer’s relationship to the freak show, and how and why we look at unusual bodies. Because this project exists at the intersection of many different areas—including cultural studies, film and media studies, and gender and disability—the chapter outlines the key terms and concepts from each area that are immediately relevant to the book’s argument.

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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EnglishSUNY College at Old WestburyWestburyUSA

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