- Janet M. Davis: Circuses in the 19th century and today are best defined by their ability to adapt to changing social conditions
- Cirque du Soleil is expanding and 90% of the American population lives within an hour's drive of a circus, Davis writes
Janet M. Davis is an associate professor in the departments of American studies and history, University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of "The Circus Age: Culture & Society Under the American Big Top" (2002) and "The Gospel of Kindness: Animal Welfare and the Making of Modern America" (2016) and the editor of "Circus Queen and Tinker Bell: The Life of Tiny Kline" (2008). The views expressed here are solely hers.
(CNN)On Saturday, January 14, employees at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus received a shocking announcement after evening performances at Orlando and Miami. Representatives of Feld Entertainment, the show's parent company, revealed that the circus would shut down forever in May. Less than 24 hours later, the venerable Big Apple Circus announced that it would sell off its assets in a bankruptcy auction on February 7.