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Enacting History Kindle Edition
Essays in the collection address, among other subjects, reenactments of period cookery and cuisine at a Maryland renaissance festival; the roles of women as represented at Minnesota's premiere living history museum, Historic Fort Snelling; and the Lewis and Clark bicentennial play as cultural commemoration.
The editors argue that historical performances like these-regardless of their truth-telling claims-are an important means to communicate, document, and even shape history, and allow for a level of participation and accessibility that is unique to performance. Enacting History is an entertaining and informative account of the public's fascination with acting out and watching history and of the diverse methods of fulfilling this need.
About the Author
- ASIN : B00CPJAUWM
- Publisher : University Alabama Press; First edition (March 18, 2011)
- Publication date : March 18, 2011
- Language : English
- File size : 5530 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 240 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0817356541
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,749,340 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Regardless of the manner in which these are developed, nurtured, and practiced, the question of authenticity is central to its unfolding. In the case of many such activities the authenticity is mostly about the costumes and perhaps the accoutrements of the activity. In the case of Colonial Williamsburg that authenticity reflects not only those concerns but also the personification of individuals and their backgrounds.
This collection of essays seeks to get to the question of authenticity in a variety of settings from historic sites to pageants to reenactments. In each case the objectives and the approaches are somewhat different. This is an uneven collection of case studies written, it seems without much in the way of editorial direction by the various essayists. It could have been an important set of cases had the editors imposed some rigor on the essayists and sought to extract some broader ideas that could inform the field. As it is, the essays may be read on their own merits but as a work the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
Accordingly, if it is not already understood, I must to admit to a bit of disappointment with this book. I had expected that Enacting History would be a set of related analyses of the manner in which historic sites, Civil War reenactors, etc., approached their efforts to depict the past. Some of that is present, but there is no broader overview that helps to unpack the reenactment of the past. Some of the essays are little more than “this is what we did in costume” accounts and some fail to make any point beyond the specific. Some of them are participant-observer ethnographic discussions; others are more about how to stage an historical play than anything else. One was even about the Maryland Renaissance Festival; an interesting event but also something so far removed from any real effort to depict the past that even its participants—be they dressed as Henry VIII or a Hobbit or a character from Star Wars (I have seen all of these at the RenFest)—view it as little more than an opportunity to dress in costume without believing that it has anything to do with history.
The varieties of historical reenactment still awaits its analysis. I would like to see a work like Henry Jenkins's Textual Poachers on Civil War reenactments of the renaissance festivals. Perhaps there is such a book, if so please let me know about it. Tony Horwitz comes as close as I know this type of study in Confederates in the Attic but it is still not quite at the level of analysis offered by Jenkins. The place of reenactment in historic sites is a topic screaming for serious attention.