Blogs > Cliopatria > Re-Enactment

Dec 4, 2005 7:10 am


It's been 18 months since we had a serious discussion at Cliopatria about re-enactment as a way of doing history. I pointed out then that, in the broadest sense, the services of many religious communities, as well as much of our best theater, art, and music, are re-enactment. Still, my sense is that it's fairly rare for academic historians to participate in re-enactment. Oberlin's restaging of the Lane Seminary Debates bought 14 historians to campus to assume roles in the 19th century antislavery debate that was crucial to the College's early history. But I suspect that, for many academics, re-enactment is, somehow, tainted by the popularity of re-enactment of battles and warfare. Belle Waring's post,"Unusual Hobbies," at Crooked Timber spoke for what I think is a widely shared skepticism about them. They certainly do thrive without us. The Elfin Ethicist points out the BBC's beautiful slide show depicting some of the 4,000 participants from 23 countries who recently gathered in the Czech Republic to re-enact the Battle of Austerlitz on its 200th anniversary.
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Ben W. Brumfield - 12/5/2005

David Hackett Fischer mentions having tagged along with some reenactors in Washington's Crossing. If you're interested, I can type up his comments.

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