Re-enactment and Wikipedia

I think historical re-enactment serves a purpose to attract crowds to historical places to put them, if only for a few moments, into the era they are learning and exploring. I remember watching a civil war union soldier demonstrate the different positions and instructions in rank and file movements at Fort Pulaski and other civil war forts around the south. Castile de San Marcos did a Spanish canon firing demonstration at the Castile every hour all in Spanish. These presentations were done by Park Service Interpretive Rangers, which had knowledge and history of the areas. Do I think that regular people who decide to do re-enactments are not qualified to do them? No. I think some of them really believe that it gives them a purpose in life and they take it to the next level by actually living the life style as authentically as possible. Re-enactment to me is no different than people who go to comic con dressing up to be their favorite super hero. I do think there is some differences in dressing up and re-enacting a historical event over a dressing up and being a super hero. But in the end, you are dressing up and pretending to be something you’re not, which allows people to escape their boring day jobs and do something they feel passionate about. Nick Kowalczyk article about being embedded with re-enactors says it best: “Like drag shows, re-enactments hinge on sartorial panache. If a man’s otherwise period-correct outfit includes modern-day buttons or eyeglasses, it might as well have come from K-mart.”[1] I feel that re-enactment is a worthy sub culture that does serve a purpose in some regards as long as it is historically correct.

The Historiann article did bring up good points on Nick’s article in regards to if as a United States citizen, you want to get the full idea of battle and war why not join in the battles in Iraq and Afghanistan? This article also brings a good point on race that white people seem to want to relive the past more than other races. “Perhaps this is what makes me uncomfortable about reenactors—their interest in reenacting violent events (warfare, principally) which from the first Anglo-Indian wars of the seventeenth century through our modern wars, were either explicitly racialized wars (most Anglo-Indian wars, he Mexican War, and the wars waged by the Frontier Army against Native Americans) or wars that mobilized ethnic difference and white racism in the war effort (as in World War II and the war with Japan, the Vietnam War, and Iraq and Afghanistan).” [2] I have never thought about this perspective before but it does make sense when it comes to reenactments that it is mostly a white thing.

The Wikipedia articles made me think and ponder why women would be more hesitant to contribute to an online forum their opinions? I know and have been influenced, even had my views changed, by many talented and intelligent women in my life. Then I thought back to the conversations we all have had in this class and things I have read and heard on National Public Radio (NPR). Women get harassed online and in society by men who for reason or another can’t allow women to share their opinions and knowledge through different online resources. To see first-hand how women are treated in other countries I have been to, then to come home and see that through the internet and social media this is happening in the United States angers me.

[1] Kowalczyk, Nick. “Embedded with the reenactors.” Salon. Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012.

[2] “The Limited (and queer?) vision of American historical reenacting.” Historiann. January 9, 2012.

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