This article examines the first formal exhibit of Filipinos under American rule at the Greater America Exposition in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1899. It focuses specifically on the remarkably discursive forms of representation at a time before official discourses of empire and the “Philippines” or “Filipinos” were established. In this sense the exposition marked a rare instance of true colonial encounter in which the contingencies and vulnerabilities of empire were plainly manifest. The exposition also provided a critical baseline by which to gauge evolving discourses of representation at subsequent expositions, particularly the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
Keywords: Greater America Exposition • Omaha • Empire • Philippines • Colonial Discourse