Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Environmental Analysis

Second Department

Classical Studies

Reader 1

Professor Michelle L. Berenfeld, Ph.D

Reader 2

Professor Char Miller, Ph.D

Rights Information

2021 Kazandra E Zelaya


Daniel Burnham’s vision of a classical revival in the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 brought ancient Roman triumph with its captives and spoils to Chicago, Illinois. Burnham’s restorative urban utopia used Beaux-Arts architecture in the exposition’s White City that evoked the image of Roman triumphal processions. Beaux-Arts architecture did not extend into the Midway Plaisance, however, the model of Roman triumph extended into the ethnographic exhibits. By examining the ethnographic exhibits of the Midway as a version of a Roman triumphal procession, the exhibits highlighted novel types of captivity through sponsorships, wages, and erasure. Illustrations of American imperialism in the Columbian Exposition were reliant on performative displays of captivity and spoils to anchor itself to successful Roman imperialism. Burnham’s restorative urban utopia was an attempt to reestablish pride in America’s built environment and restore a connection to a distant Roman lineage. I reveal the Columbian Exposition's triumphal procession by examining its comparative relationship to ancient Roman triumphal processions through the White City's architecture and the Midway Plaisance's ethnographic exhibits.