Exotism and politics on the big screen: Colonial magic lantern shows in Belgium

At a time when few Europeans travelled to the African continent, the public stilled their curiosity for what happened in the Congo Free State by listening to the travel stories of European explorers. How was the colony represented in Belgium between 1885-1945? This is the key question of Anse De Weerdt’s PhD research. In the following, she will tell us where her quest began.

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An image speaks a thousand words

A Nigerian medical student went viral when he shared an illustration of a black pregnant woman.The image stirred up emotions as people realized they had never seen this kind of image of someone of colour. SciFair PhD student Gitte Samoy reflects on this ‘new’ insight.

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A peek into the day-to-day life of showpeople

Strolling across a nineteenth-century fairground, we would be greeted by a variety of attractions: illusionists mesmerizing the public with their visual deceptions or animal tamers displaying their courage and control over exotic animals. Others tried to capture people’s attention by displaying wax figures with curious diseases in their travelling museums, and panorama owners transported people to faraway places. But who were these showpeople really?

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The secret life of objects

Have you ever been seized by the historical weight of an object? Experienced an incomprehensible bond with an artefact? Or feel that a thing was silently questioning you? Suddenly, the material does not appear as inert as it should be, but it has something. A soul, perhaps? In this article, researcher Thibaut Rioult takes you on his quest for "charged objects".

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Fairground organs, X-rays and cinema: Science and technology at the funfair

'Science and technology… at the fairground? The fair, that’s mostly fun, right?' When I tell friends and family about my research, this is a common reaction. And yes, science and technology did in fact play an important role at the fairground in the nineteenth century. Let me take you on a journey to times when there were not only merry-go-rounds and slot machines at the funfair, but science and technology were presented to the public as a great spectacle.

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