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Enacting History, Enacting History, 0817317287, 0-8173-1728-7, 978-0-8173-1728-7, 9780817317287, , , Enacting History, 0817385355, 0-8173-8535-5, 978-0-8173-8535-4, 9780817385354, , , Enacting History, 0817356541, 0-8173-5654-1, 978-0-8173-5654-5, 9780817356545,

Enacting History
Edited by Scott Magelssen and Rhona Justice-Malloy

E Book
2011. 240 pp.
10 interior b+w illus
Price:  $29.95 d
Quality Paper
2011. 240 pp.
10 illustrations
Price:  $29.95 s

Enacting History is a collection of new essays exploring the world of historical performances. The volume focuses on performances outside the traditional sphere of theatre, among them living history museums, battle reenactments, pageants, renaissance festivals, and adventure-tourism destinations. This volume argues that the recent surge in such performances have raised significant questions about the need for, interest in, and value of such nontraditional theater. Many of these performances claim a greater or lesser degree of historical "accuracy" or "authenticity," and the authors tease out the representational and historiographic issues related to these arguments. How, for instance, are issues of race, ethnicity, and gender dealt with at museums that purport to be accurate windows into the past? How are politics and labor issues handled in local- or state-funded institutions that rely on volunteer performers? How do tourists' expectations shape the choices made by would-be purveyors of the past? Where do matters of taste or censorship enter in when reconciling the archival evidence with a family-friendly mission?
Essays in the collection address, among other subjects, reenactments of period cookery and cuisine at a Maryland renaissance festival; the roles of women as represented at Minnesota's premiere living history museum, Historic Fort Snelling; and the Lewis and Clark bicentennial play as cultural commemoration.
The editors argue that historical performances like these-regardless of their truth-telling claims-are an important means to communicate, document, and even shape history, and allow for a level of participation and accessibility that is unique to performance. Enacting History is an entertaining and informative account of the public's fascination with acting out and watching history and of the diverse methods of fulfilling this need.

Scott Magelssen is an associate professor of theatre at Bowling Green State University, author of Living History Museums: Undoing History through Performance, and editor of the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism.
Rhona Justice-Malloy is a professor of theatre at the University of Mississippi, editor of Theatre History Studies, and past president of the Mid-American Theatre Conference.

“The authors and their fellow contributors should be congratulated for producing a book that is theoretically sophisticated and accessible to a wide range of readers and—owing to its innovative topic—a good deal of fun to read.”—Jason Shaffer, author of Performing Patriotism: National Identity in the Colonial and Revolutionary American Theater

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