NEH banner [Return to Query]

Products for grant FEL-257962-18

Science and Spectacle in the History of French Archaeology, 1890-1940
Daniel Sherman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Grant details:

Staging Archaeology: Empire as Reality Effect at the 1906-07 fêtes de Carthage (Article)
Title: Staging Archaeology: Empire as Reality Effect at the 1906-07 fêtes de Carthage
Author: Daniel J. Sherman
Abstract: The fêtes de Carthage, organized by a private association and held at a newly excavated Roman theatre, promoted the contribution of archaeology to the French colonial enterprise to the Tunisian Protectorate established just a quarter century before. The hastily organized 1906 event comprised excerpts from classically-themed plays and operas, as well as a brief staged allegory of imperial rule in Carthage from the Punic to the contemporary French era. In 1907, however, the organizers commissioned two original one-act plays, one depicting the Roman conquest of Carthage and a second, situated at the site of ongoing excavations, an encounter between a Carthaginian priestess and a modern poet. In both their staging and the associated publicity, the fêtes made abundant and careful reference to contemporary archaeological work and its finds. Through such means, they constructed a framework in which supporting details – the “reality effect” as theorized by Roland Barthes – bolstered an underlying ideological framework casting the French as repositories of the knowledge and wisdom necessary for imperial rule.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Classical Receptions Journal, Volume 13, no. 3 (July 2021)
Access Model: Subscription
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Classical Receptions Journal
Publisher: Oxford University Press