Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Mapping dangerous bodies: The historical geopolitics and spatial regulation of the freak show
by Squitieri, Todd, M.A., The William Paterson University of New Jersey, 2013, 43; 1530980
Abstract (Summary)

Freak shows have been defined as “the formal organized exhibition of people with alleged physical, mental, or behavioral difference at circuses, fairs, carnivals, and other amusement venues” (Bogdan 1996: 23). While scholars assert that freak shows are experiencing a resurgence of sorts (Fordham 2007; Dennett 1996), others posit that it has been on the decline since the advent of the “medical perspective” (Hartzman 2005; Whittington-Walsh 2002). Argued here, however, is that freak shows still exist and that the occurrence of freak shows is affected by modern legislation that serves to control the movement of bodies across space, particularly those considered deviant. We take a deliberately geospatial approach to the study of freak shows to obtain a more ecological understanding of the modern freak show. This study finds support for the claim that particular state statutes serve to control the movement of bodies, particular those considered phenotypically deviant.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Ranjan, Sheetal
Commitee: Felson, Jacob, Furst, Gennifer, Parrillo, Vince
School: The William Paterson University of New Jersey
Department: Sociology
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: MAI 51/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Law, Social structure
Keywords: Carnival, Circus, Colonialism, Disability, Freak show, Side show
Publication Number: 1530980
ISBN: 978-1-267-81701-3
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