Reading through these articles, as well as many of the class’s responses, highlighted an aspect of the community’s wider opinion of reenactment that I suppose I was unaware of.  Despite the many years of being made fun of for doing reenactments, no one has ever suggested that by choreographing sword duels and discussing the finer points of foam-tipped archery that I am perpetuating toxic white masculinity. No one has pointed at my hobby and called it inherently racist or sexist before. While these articles in particular focused on black powder reenacting in the United States, there are legitimately dozens of other kinds of reenactments that romanticize the past in similarly historically problematic ways that do not seem to carry the emotionally-charged connotations as those covered in the articles for this week.

Kowalcyzk suggests that the problem rests not in reenacting itself, but in the stories that we choose to tell. The Historiann article suggests that reenactment is a white thing. Both seem to think that the practice is rooted in a deep seated need to return to a time when white men were in control of everything, and that reenactors respond to the rush this simulated power gives them. For some, I’m sure that is true, if subconsciously rather than overtly. In any case, it is interesting to see an argument constructed by non-reenactors as to why so many who engage in the hobby are older, white, and male. I can tell you that reenacting is prohibitively expensive, if you do not have parents willing to fund your eccentricities.

As for Wikipedia, I suppose I can see both sides. As an expert in the field, it would be frustrating to have someone else tell you that incorrect sources are more credible than you are, without a helpful explanation as to why. As for Wikipedia, I imagine they are overworked and underfunded, having to spend much of their time looking for vandalizations. Since many denizens of the internet cannot help but destroy nice things someone else has created, I imagine it makes the editors rather testy to have someone repeatedly change a page after being told no.

3 thoughts on “Reenactment”

  1. Can reenacting break the barrier of white male domination? In your opinion, does it? Does it just depend on which time period everyone is reenacting?

  2. This reflection made me outright sad. The presumption of so many about a group they LITERALLY KNOW NOTHING ABOUT is border lining on the absurd for me. Most professional hockey players are white. Does that mean that by this logic hockey is racist? To me the logic they followed is just inherently flawed.

  3. A second thought on a poll that was taken about “the good old days”. Though many see the 50’s as the good old days, I think you would find it hard to pass a bill to go back to segregation. I find that the idea of others thinking they know what motivates certain people they do not know as a true form of prejudice.”This veneration of the past is widespread. A recent poll asked Americans which decade of the 20th century they would most like to go back to; the most popular answer was the 1950s. That’s linked to a human tendency to judge things on a relative basis. For those who lived through them, the 1950s were a happy time of growth in both income and opportunity, while the past decade has witnessed stagnation and rising inequality. Yet by almost every other objective measure, life is simply much better now than it was in the ’50s for just about everyone—and that should give us considerable confidence that progress will continue in the future.” (

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