Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2024

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis



Program or Major


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

Kurk Dorsey

Second Advisor

Marion Dorsey

Third Advisor

Gregory McMahon


During the 20th century, the theme of World's Fairs in the United States broke away from previous World Exposition traditions and centered around concepts of progress and the future. This thesis investigates the conception of the future and the evolution of the World's Fair themes during times of economic and political turmoil at the Chicago 1933–1934, New York 1939­­­–1940, and Seattle 1962 World’s Fairs. In each instance, the fair’s organizers felt the need to respond to world events, which caused them to shift their initial focus from a local attempt to increase prosperity, to a national commentary on global conditions.