Conceptualizing the Period Rush: Ludic Dimensions of Immersive History in Historical Reenactment

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In chapter 2, Adriaansen focuses on historical reenactors’ thrill of being immersed in the past while reenacting a historical event, which has often been referred to as the “period rush.” He sets out to conceptualize this phenomenon in the framework of Huizinga’s (1949) and Hans-Georg Gadamer’s (2004) theories of play. By applying ludic theory, it is shown that the immersiveness of the period rush need not be understood as a being immersed in the past itself, but rather as being immersed in the play of the reenactment. Highlighting the play element of reenactments will show that they often function as historical simulations—operationalized models of historical reality and of the behavior of historical actors—rather than as mere representations of the past. In this way this chapter aims at constituting an analytical framework for the interpretation of immersion in the context of historical reenactment that acknowledges that we are not dealing with the past itself, but rather with its traces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistorical Reenactment
Subtitle of host publicationNew Ways of Experiencing History
EditorsMario Carretero, Brady Wagoner, Everardo Perez-Manjarrez
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherBerghahn Books Inc.
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-80073-541-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-80073-540-8
Publication statusPublished - 2022


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