Performing contested pasts: An ethnography of historical re-enactments of war and revolution

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Over the past decades, historical re-enactment has grown exponentially with an increasing number of practitioners recreating battles, encampments, and military training to approximate the experience of past war and revolution. Yet, little is known about the social and cultural dynamics of these performances particularly when re-enacting contested pasts that incite social divisions or trigger emotional responses. This dissertation aims to fill that gap by analysing historical re-enactments of World War II in Europe and the War of Independence in Indonesia. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic research, it examines
how re-enactors negotiate notions of nationhood, gender roles in combat, and embodied experiences of war and hardship. In doing so, this dissertation demonstrates how re-enactors contest dominant historical discourses within their hobby, thereby generating new meanings and perspectives on both the present and past.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Grever, Maria, Supervisor
  • Reijnders, Stijn, Supervisor
  • Adriaansen, Robbert-Jan, Supervisor
Award date13 Dec 2023
Place of PublicationRotterdam
Print ISBNs978-90-76665-60-3
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2023

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