Reenactment and living history

A group of costumed reenactors marching in a line with flag-bearers carrying American flags.
Performing the Civil War in a Connecticut field, 1996. I’m somewhere in the middle, playing the fife.

My interest in commemorative behavior really started with my deep puzzlement about military reenactors, specifically those who depicted the American Civil War. You can read more here about my two years of participant-observation research with Civil War reenactors and what I learned about America, militarism, masculinity, and where I stood in relation to all those things.

Other writing I’ve done on living history and historical reenactment includes:

A group of seven people in a field, three of them in nineteenth century clothing, with a dog in front.
Left to right: Otter and Conrad Vispo, Jean-Paul Courtens, Jody Bolluyt, Anna Duhon, Cathy Stanton, Ruth Piwonka

Postscript: I got to step back into a costume at the end of the Ethnographic Landscape Study project at Martin Van Buren National Historic Site when some of the other project researchers and I staged a multi-time-period tour of the farm. Conrad Vispo of the Farmscape Ecology Program played a nineteenth-century editor of an agricultural journal, I played the early twentieth-century daughter of a neighboring farmer, and Jean-Paul Courtens of Roxbury Farm played himself.