Women at the front: Remediating gendered notions of WWII heroism in historical re-enactment

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Abstract

Historical re-enactments have become an increasingly popular topic in academic debate, as some scholars argue that re-enactments allow participants to critically investigate history and its representations. As a pastime dominated by men, most literature on war re-enactment and gender, however, has emphasized the subordinate position of women and the reproduction of conventional gender roles. This paper focuses on two European women re-enactment groups that challenge this understanding: Die Flakhelferinnen in the Wehrmacht of Nazi Germany and the Army Nurse Corps of the United States. Based on a visual ethnography of their Instagram combined with fieldwork in the Czech Republic and Belgium, I analyse the strategies these reenactors use in the remediation of the ‘invisible’ histories of women in the armed forces during WWII. The analysis demonstrates a complex negotiation between historical notions of ‘femininity’, contemporary identities, and Instagram’s affordances in the remediation of gendered pasts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-466
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of War and Culture Studies
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright: © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

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