Since the late 20th century re-enactment/living history has grown steadily as a form of direct and participatory practice of public history.
Around the world many thousands of history enthusiasts have (quite literally) stepped into the shoes of people from the past as a way of exploring aspects of living in a time other than the present. At the same time, re-enactment has also become a method for public history mediation among professional public history bodies such as archaeological or historical museums.
Both re-enactors and museums have recently voiced a need for more in-depth dialogue on the practicalities of re-enactment as public history.
In this call for papers, we welcome contributions on how to practically go about organising re-enactments, from, for example, re-enactors, guides, museum curators and educators, experimental archaeologists, historians, and teachers.
The purpose is to develop a practical handbook for those interested in using re-enactment to explore, experience, and mediate history as a public history project.
What is meant by re-enactment/living history here is an event which “seeks to advance [individual and collective] historical understanding through an authentic simulation of past objects, events, practices, and experiences” (Agnew and Toman 2020: 20).
We include living history, Live-Action Role Play (LARP) and digitally mediated immersive experiences. We are interested in all cultures and historical periods. Re-enactments could focus on a specific historical event or they could be comprised of a combination of characters and events that create a more general period setting from across the world, such as Silk Road re-enactment, everyday life in the Iron Age, life on an American plantation, or World War Two.
We welcome abstracts of 500 words, which should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, June 11, 2021 (use the subject-line “Visiting the past”).
Successful applicants are welcomed to a digital workshop between September 30 and October 1, 2021.
The book project will also make an appearance as a workshop at the Reconference, November 5-7, The Norwegian Museum of Cultural History.
Chapter themes could include, but are not limited to:
Making history come alive
- A common terminology for all who are involved in re-enactment/Living History.
- Considering material authenticity: sources and compromises.
- Achieving authenticity through immersion and embodied experience.
- Risk management and insurance considerations.
- Representation in re-enactment/living history (i.e. whose story is being told).
- Starting out with re-enactment on a low budget: what can be done without building a custom ‘set’?
- Story and plot.
o Re-enactment, living history and LARP, including opportunities to let participants ‘make history’.
o Preparing and playing characters.
o Historical, composite, literary (incl. saga) characters.
o Taking on 1, 2 and 3rd role impersonating historical characters.
o Representation, diversity.
- Crafts and crafting activities
o Fun, easy starters, challenging participants and enhancing skills, safety
o Food, Information sources, recipes, cooking for or cooking with, hygiene.
o Clothing – make it yourself or purchase.
- Re-enactment IRL vs re-enactment in the Digital world
o Games, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality.
- Contribution to science by experimental work.
- Re-enactment for school groups: how can schools, museums, and re-enactors find each other and work successfully together?
o Best practice case study of a re-enactment with school age participants
- Re-enactment as recreation and tourism.
o Best practice case study of re-enactment as recreation and tourism
- Re-enactment as community heritage work.
o Best practice case study of re-enactment as community heritage work
- How to deal with difficult participant responses, for example white supremacist agendas or sexism.
o Best practice case study of how to deal with difficult participant responses
- How to re-enact darker historical events, for example life as a refugee, the Holocaust, enslavement, Viking raids.
o Best practice case study of successful re-enactment of dark historical event
- How to deal with beliefs or practices in the past that clash with the present, for example politics or religion.
o Best practice case study of exploring beliefs in the past that differ from the present.
- How to deal with complex characteristics of participants and characters, for example gender, body, race, disability: aiming for inclusion, openness, and diversity.
o Best practice case study of inclusion, openness, and diversity.
- How to find, deal with and incorporate new historical or archaeological research in re-enactment.
- Best practice case study of how to incorporate new historical or archaeological research in re-enactment and living-history. Re-enactment practices as research method.