Old times there are not forgotten : Civil War re-enactors and the creation of heritage
Bowen, Ashley Elizabeth.
Thesis (M.A.)--Georgetown University, 2009.; Includes bibliographical references. Civil War re-enactors, men and women who dress in 1860s-era clothing and learn military and domestic skills from the war period, seek to make the past physically present in their own lives and, at least temporarily, in the lives of their audiences. The re-enactor's impression, the historical personality or role they inhabit during an event, turns abstract historical concepts into lived experience. To understand the hobby's relationship to American culture requires examining reenacting through three related fields of inquiry. History provides the context for today's re-enactments and illuminates the connection between these commemorations and those of the post-war generation. Cultural memory underscores the importance of shared narratives of the past in contemporary life. Heritage studies, which includes museum studies as well as anthropological studies, helps to clarify how history becomes cultural memory by emphasizing the active construction of these memories from the raw material of history.; By combining the results of in-depth interviews, a survey, and participant observation this study argues that scholars have underestimated the participants and the hobby's role in American culture. A surface-level reading of the hobby, that its participants are little more than "rednecks" and "hillbillies," is incorrect and ignores the value the hobby creates by enacting American heritage for an audience. By making social memory a physical experience, re-enactors keep the past alive and ensure that a specific narrative of the past, one that favors military history over the era's social history, continues to circulate among the many narratives of the past in American life.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Ashley, Elizabeth (1997-10-15)
Keeler, William (2004-02-05)