Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

RE: [Revlist] British views on reenacting

Expand Messages
  • Joseph Malit
    Did anyone bother to check Staunton s credentials? He s an ECONOMIC historian. As such, while he is certainly entitled to his opinion, it should carry no more
    Message 1 of 22 , Aug 1, 2007
      Did anyone bother to check Staunton's credentials?
      He's an ECONOMIC historian. As such, while he is
      certainly entitled to his opinion, it should carry no
      more weight than anyone else's and much LESS weight
      than the opinion of any competent re-enactor.

      Now if he were an art historian, a museum curator, or
      an archaeologist I might tend to grant him a little
      more credence. I wonder if Staunton has even HEARD of
      the concept of experimental archaeology?

      What we do, or claim to do, in re-enacting is create a
      living tableau of an historical epoch. As such, it is
      not in principle different from what ANY museum does
      when it sets up a room display. Sure, there are
      re-enactors who are sub-standard, but there are also
      "professional academic historians" who are talentless
      hacks, and I'm sure Staunton would not want us to lump
      him in with them.

      I doubt that Staunton has really given much thought to
      what we do at all, otherwise he would not use such
      absurd terms as "pretending" or "dressing up." The
      interviewer probably just picked his name out of a
      phone book. Oh, lookee here, an "academic historian"!
      Well, golly gee, I guess we'd all better be suitably
      impressed.

      If economics is "the dismal science" what can we infer
      about economic historians.

      Joseph Malit
      I-R von Donop


      __________________________________ Alles was der Gesundheit und Entspannung dient. BE A BETTER MEDIZINMANN! www.yahoo.de/clever
    • edkennedy18thc@aim.com
      ... From: davidmckissack To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com Sent: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 5:01 pm Subject: [Revlist] Re: British views on
      Message 2 of 22 , Aug 1, 2007
        -----Original Message-----
        From: davidmckissack <david.mckissack@...>
        To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Wed, 1 Aug 2007 5:01 pm
        Subject: [Revlist] Re: British views on reenacting










        <<Right. When I was in the Peace Corps, the biggest reason people
        terminated early was they got bored living and working at 18th
        century speed. Slowing your mind down to that pace is a huge
        challenge. Yet that's the pace most of "them" (the people we portray)
        lived with.

        Cheers,
        Dave McKissack>>



        Looking at this from a 21st C, US perspective I am reminded of an
        organization that I worked with for several years.? As part of the
        initial training there was a questionnaire that asked if the person
        would know how to handle a large number of divergent tasks,

        e.g. Keep your laundry from being stolen at the laundromat.

        ?????? Arrange for your second home to have the refrigerator stocked
        and the servants on duty with ??? ?????? only a three day notice.


        The point was that you were apt to be working with a range of
        socioeconomic persons with far ranging? backgrounds.? Could you? do it??? Most
        people? have? a? rather limited? experience in dealing with? this
        variety of backgrounds.
        This was a sorting out exercise but was there to point how limited our personal experience is.

        ?







        Ed Kennedy
        1st Co'y, Herrick's Regt.








        ________________________________________________________________________
        Check Out the new free AIM(R) Mail -- Unlimited storage and industry-leading spam and email virus protection.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Sgt42RHR@aol.com
        Dave, That was certainly true when I was a PCV in the Philippines (Group 38, 1970-72). If you couldn t adjust to that mind set, it was frustrating. A
        Message 3 of 22 , Aug 1, 2007
          Dave,

          That was certainly true when I was a PCV in the Philippines (Group 38,
          1970-72). If you couldn't adjust to that mind set, it was frustrating. A number
          of our group did leave early on, because they felt like they were not getting
          anything done. I remember the first week we were in our town and I asked
          the mini-bus driver...When does this bus go to Cuyan? His response..."when
          it's full." I learned a lot that week!

          Cheers,
          John


          david.mckissack@... writes:

          Right. When I was in the Peace Corps, the biggest reason people
          terminated early was they got bored living and working at 18th
          century speed. Slowing your mind down to that pace is a huge
          challenge. Yet that's the pace most of "them" (the people we portray)
          lived with.

          Cheers,
          Dave McKissack




          John M. Johnston,
          42d Grenr. Compy.

          "There is a fine line between hobby and mental illness." Dave Barry



          ************************************** Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at
          http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Sgt42RHR@aol.com
          A point made very well about both the Continental and Brtish army by the author of the new book, Patriot Battles. Great read incidentally--a mile wide and an
          Message 4 of 22 , Aug 1, 2007
            A point made very well about both the Continental and Brtish army by the
            author of the new book, Patriot Battles. Great read incidentally--a mile wide
            and an inch deep, but it does a good job of exploring (and exploding) many
            myths held by the public (and not a few reenactors).

            Cheers,
            John

            steverayner@... writes:

            I see footage of a guy ploughing a field
            with nothing to look at but a southern view of a northbound ox, and I think
            of 18th century lads song the same thing from dawn to dusk. No wonder they
            so often volunteered for the army!





            John M. Johnston,
            42d Grenr. Compy.

            "There is a fine line between hobby and mental illness." Dave Barry



            ************************************** Get a sneak peek of the all-new AOL at
            http://discover.aol.com/memed/aolcom30tour


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Patrick O'Kelley
            Howdy, ... what people ... lifestyles of ... prevail in ... You would be surprised as to how much of the world does reenactments. For example, there are quite
            Message 5 of 22 , Aug 1, 2007
              Howdy,

              > Thanks for the very thought-provoking post. I've often wondered
              what people
              > from under-developed nations would think of historical re-enacting,
              > considering that many of the social conditions, culture and
              lifestyles of
              > eras that re-enactors (including us) purport to depict, still
              prevail in
              > many parts of the world.

              You would be surprised as to how much of the world does
              reenactments. For example, there are quite a few in Mexico. I know
              they reenact the Battle of Puebla, that created "Cinco de Mayo".
              I have also seen reenactments of ancient battles in Pakistan and
              Egypt. What better way to flaunt your history, than to relive it.
              Even Rome reenacted their famous battles in the Coliseum.
              If you want to go to the simplest forms, tribal folks reenact
              famous hunts or battles around their campfires, through song, dance
              or storytelling.

              Patrick O'Kelley
              2nd North Carolina Regiment http://www.2nc.org/
              The Carolina Brigade http://www.carolinabrigade.org/
              Author of "Nothing but Blood and Slaughter" and Francis Marion's
              Orderly book
              Available at http://bluehousetavern.com/
            • rgrpuck
              RIGHT on target Dave. That is my biggest challenge every day here. My counterpart asks me if a problem can be solved in Afghan time or American time . What
              Message 6 of 22 , Aug 2, 2007
                RIGHT on target Dave. That is my biggest challenge every day here.
                My counterpart asks me if a problem can be solved in "Afghan time or
                American time". What takes us a day to complete can take months in
                this place.

                Bert Puckett
                IISC



                --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "davidmckissack"
                <david.mckissack@...> wrote:
                >
                > Right. When I was in the Peace Corps, the biggest reason people
                > terminated early was they got bored living and working at 18th
                > century speed. Slowing your mind down to that pace is a huge
                > challenge. Yet that's the pace most of "them" (the people we
                portray)
                > lived with.
                >
                > Cheers,
                > Dave McKissack
                >
                > 2nd NC -- The Carolina Brigade
                >
                > "...those dear ragged Continentals, whose patience will be the
                > admiration of future ages." Colonel John Laurens, KIA, Tar Bluff,
                SC,
                > 27 Aug 1782.
                >
                >
                > --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "Will Tatum" <albemarle@> wrote:
                > >
                > > Steve,
                > > That is a point I always raise in my classes when asking
                students
                > > to define the "modern world" and "modernity." They automatically
                > > think of western society, 1st world countries, and it gives them
                > > pause to consider that a large chunk of the world is still
                living
                > in
                > > the early modern period, for all intents and purposes.
                > >
                > >
                > > Yr Svt,
                > > Wm Tatum
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > >
                > > --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Rayner" <steverayner@>
                > > wrote:
                > > >
                > > > Hi Will;
                > > >
                > > > Thanks for the very thought-provoking post. I've often
                wondered
                > > what people
                > > > from under-developed nations would think of historical re-
                > enacting,
                > > > considering that many of the social conditions, culture and
                > > lifestyles of
                > > > eras that re-enactors (including us) purport to depict, still
                > > prevail in
                > > > many parts of the world.
                > > >
                > > > Best Regards,
                > > >
                > > > Steve Rayner
                > > >
                > > > >From: "Will Tatum" <albemarle@>
                > > > >Reply-To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com
                > > > >To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com
                > > > >Subject: [Revlist] British views on reenacting
                > > > >Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2007 13:47:09 -0000
                > > > >
                > > > >All,
                > > > > Two views on reenacting from the Brits- one from a
                > > > >medieval "squire" and one from a professional academic
                historian.
                > > > >What do you all think?
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/6924090.stm
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >Alan says that such events and re-enactments are vital.
                > > > >
                > > > >"In terms of living history, maintaining and demonstrating
                > > technology
                > > > >and skills that would otherwise be lost, it's invaluable. Re-
                > > > >enactment needs to be primarily entertainment but historically
                > > > >correct."
                > > > >
                > > > >But Professor Martin Daunton, of the Royal Historical
                Society,
                > says
                > > > >that while re-enactments can help children gain an
                understanding
                > > of -
                > > > >and excitement for - history, for adults it is little more
                than a
                > > > >hobby.
                > > > >
                > > > >"Pretending to be a knight isn't going to give a sense of the
                > lousy
                > > > >food, the place, the constant threat of death and the total
                > boredom
                > > > >that was part and parcel of that life. Dressing up as a
                > Roundhead
                > > is
                > > > >not going to give an understanding of Puritanism or the
                religious
                > > > >divisions of the 17th Century.
                > > > >
                > > > >"For children, dressing up is a way to engage with the past -
                so
                > > long
                > > > >as they are given further opportunities to think about what
                > > > >conditions were like. It can't be done in isolation."
                > > > >
                > > > >
                > > > >Yr Svt,
                > > > >Wm Tatum
                > > > >
                > > >
                > > >
                _________________________________________________________________
                > > > http://imagine-windowslive.com/hotmail/?locale=en-
                > > us&ocid=TXT_TAGHM_migration_HM_mini_pcmag_0507
                > > >
                > >
                >
              • davidmckissack
                ... Until you ve been bored out of your ever-loving mind, day after day, week after week, you have no idea of the significance of that 18th c. term
                Message 7 of 22 , Aug 2, 2007
                  --- In Revlist@yahoogroups.com, "Steve Rayner" <steverayner@...>
                  wrote:
                  >
                  > Hi David;
                  >
                  > I see footage of a guy
                  > ploughing a field with nothing to look at but a southern view of a
                  > northbound ox, and I think of 18th century lads song the same thing
                  > from dawn to dusk. No wonder they so often volunteered for the army!

                  Until you've been bored out of your ever-loving mind, day after day,
                  week after week, you have no idea of the significance of that 18th c.
                  term "diversion."

                  I think you are right, Steve, about lots of lads joining the army for
                  adventure. On the other hand, there's a lot of evidence that troops
                  in later stages joined for economic reasons, too.

                  > Similarly, many people today enjoy weaving. But again, one sees the
                  > work being and it is no wonder why former weavers (and other
                  > textile trades) made up a significant part of the British Infantry.
                  > It takes a special kind of dedication to work at a loom - and a lot
                  > of patience.

                  I recently read an interview where an Appalachian woman in her 80's
                  who spoke of how all 10 kids in her family were expected to take
                  their turn at the boring work of sitting at the family loom. She
                  hated it. Another woman said basketweaving "takes a settled mind."

                  I've been harvesting lots of beans and peas out of my garden lately.
                  I haven't grown beans and peas in years, and harvesting them, as well
                  as helping my wife prepare them for non-microwave cooking, has been a
                  very slow, laborious process (by 21st c. standards). Modern society
                  is losing touch with who "they" were at the speed of light. Yet, we
                  pretend to judge them with increasing frequency.

                  John said -- "I remember the first week we were in our town and I
                  asked the mini-bus driver...When does this bus go to Cuyan? His
                  response..."when it's full."

                  Right. And how many 18th c. folks wore watches and kept pocket
                  calendars? They'd have completely understood "when it's full."

                  When I visited farmers in PC, I had no way of calling them to arrange
                  a visit. What I did was find someone in the market who was taking the
                  bus out their way. I then asked that person to tell a couple of
                  farmers in the area that I would come on say, "Wednesday," which was
                  pretty much interchangeable with "Tuesday" or "Thursday." Even if the
                  person going their way got them the word, the farmers' lives had
                  taught them that "appointments" were only kept about 50% of the time -
                  - buses broke down, something else came up for the visitor, etc, etc.
                  I very often arrived to find no one home but the wives and kids. For
                  21st c. folks that is called "frustrating." For 18th c. folks it's
                  called "normal."

                  Cheers,
                  Dave McKissack

                  2nd NC -- The Carolina Brigade

                  "...those dear ragged Continentals, whose patience will be the
                  admiration of future ages." Colonel John Laurens, KIA, Tar Bluff, SC,
                  27 Aug 1782.








                  >
                  > Cheers,
                  >
                  > Steve Rayner
                  >
                  > >From: "davidmckissack" <david.mckissack@...>
                  > >Reply-To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com
                  > >To: Revlist@yahoogroups.com
                  > >Subject: [Revlist] Re: British views on reenacting
                  > >Date: Wed, 01 Aug 2007 21:01:33 -0000
                  > >
                  > >Right. When I was in the Peace Corps, the biggest reason people
                  > >terminated early was they got bored living and working at 18th
                  > >century speed. Slowing your mind down to that pace is a huge
                  > >challenge. Yet that's the pace most of "them" (the people we
                  portray)
                  > >lived with.
                  > >
                  > >Cheers,
                  > >Dave McKissack
                  > >
                  > >2nd NC -- The Carolina Brigade
                  > >
                  > > "...those dear ragged Continentals, whose patience will be the
                  > >admiration of future ages." Colonel John Laurens, KIA, Tar Bluff,
                  SC,
                  > >27 Aug 1782.
                  > >
                  >
                  > _________________________________________________________________
                  > http://imagine-windowslive.com/hotmail/?locale=en-
                  us&ocid=TXT_TAGHM_migration_HM_mini_pcmag_0507
                  >
                • Will Tatum
                  Dave et al, I thought the article was a pretty typical statement of the extreme opinions on the living history hobby- a reenactor who thinks it is the best
                  Message 8 of 22 , Aug 2, 2007
                    Dave et al,
                    I thought the article was a pretty typical statement of the
                    extreme opinions on the living history hobby- a reenactor who thinks it
                    is the best thing since sliced bread, and a professional historian who
                    has a negative point of view. While economic historians can be a varied
                    lot, this fellow is a member of the Royal Historical Society, which
                    doesn't let in just anyone. In their haste to uniformly condemn all
                    academic professional historians who point out the flaws in this hobby,
                    many reenactors seem willing to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
                    That only encourages academics, who are jealous types anyway, to rachet
                    up their condemnation and do things like throw out the grad school
                    applications of anyone who mentions "reenacting" in their personal
                    statement (this does actually happen).



                    Personally, I prefer a stance of moderation and think both parties have
                    good points. Daunton's criticism was very even-handed in my opinion,
                    and I think it is important to bear in mind that pretty much everyone
                    grounded in the 21st century sees reenacting as "dressing-up" and "play-
                    acting." Just as we can't get people to stop using the
                    term "reenacting," we won't get most of them to stop thinking of us as
                    adults who enjoy playing dress-up. As far as trade skills and material
                    culture go, high-quality living history is a valuable exercise for
                    learning about the human dimension of how stuff was made and used. As
                    far as mental stuff goes, trying to say that reenacting gives you a
                    real window into the eighteenth century is simply not defendable-
                    reenacting only gives you a window into what you THINK the eighteenth
                    century was. That is one reason why Peter Laslett titled his famous
                    study of sixteenth and seventeenth century Britain "The World We have
                    Lost." The documentary record is so fragmentary that we will never know
                    exactly what it was like, which extends to what soldiers were doing
                    with their gear in the field, or even what civilians were doing at
                    home. Historical sources only tell you what the author thought was
                    important, not what YOU think is important. And so much of that minutae
                    is gone that might have otherwise driven experimental archaeology. The
                    latter is, at the end of the day, educated guesswork at best, which
                    archaeologists will grudgingly admit.



                    Furthermore, in professional historical terms, very little of the hobby
                    has any value at all, because insufficient research and planning goes
                    into carrying off events. This list has dealt with the legion of
                    inaccuracies ad-nauseum, ranging from facial hair and women in the
                    ranks to the fact that we can put a man on the moon, but can't
                    accurately reproduce eighteenth-century muskets for an affordable
                    price. For 99.99999% of participants, this hobby is more about history-
                    themed activities rather than actually recreating the past. Hence most
                    people are in clothes and using gear that is "close enough" and come
                    out for the powder burners, which will never reflect the realities of
                    combat, but won't turn up for more easily reproducable activities like
                    building redoubts. And for that fraction of a percent of people who do
                    want it to be about truly opening a window into the past, and who are
                    willing to do the extensive research, purchase the very expensive
                    materials, and expend tons of time putting together a kit and the
                    historical knowledge to interpret it, the dream is still impossible.
                    The fragmentary record prevents us from knowing everything that they
                    knew and how they behaved 100% of the time. There's not even enough
                    documentation, in some cases, to provide us with a means of checking
                    our "guesswork." Furthermore, 100% accurate material culture is
                    essentially impossible. To get that, you would have to replicate the
                    entire early-modern economy (economic historians do have some value),
                    with practically everything done by hand, from raising the animals and
                    crops to forging the firelocks and swords to sewing the uniforms. At
                    best, we can replicate the end parts of those processes (handsewing
                    uniforms, hand-finishing reproductions). But the cost of insuring that
                    the sheep whose fleece makes your wool is hand-reared, that the wool is
                    hand-sheared with period-correct shears, hand-carded, hand-spun, woven
                    on period-correct water-powered textile machinery in Yorkshire, and
                    vegetable dyed is prohibitively expensive. So is beginning with a slab
                    of wood and a pile of iron, and progressing to a finished musket.




                    In the hard light of day, the value of this hobby cannot be measured by
                    professional standards, because it will always fail to meet them. Of
                    course, the hobby wasn't designed to professional standards in the
                    first place, which is kind of like trying to use quality-control
                    standards for cars to judge the latest corn crop from Iowa. The value
                    of the hobby, in my opinion, lies in the connection it builds between
                    the hearts and minds of modern people, and the fragments of memories of
                    the worlds that were. We will never know exactly what they were like,
                    nor will we be able to replicate them, but remembering that they did
                    exist, and valuing the contributions they made to what we are today, is
                    important to me. The social function of the hobby in bringing like-
                    minded enthusiasts together should also not be under-estimated, since
                    that plays a crucial role in many peoples' lives.



                    I've personally given up applying my professional standards to this
                    hobby, because no event can hold up to them. The lack of knowledgeable
                    people, let alone people with the training to interpret the documents
                    in an advanced manner, will always keep the majority of us from getting
                    as close to the real thing as we could. Given the miseries of
                    eighteenth-century life, and the fact that this is a hobby, that is not
                    altogether a bad thing. That said, I consider the material culture, and
                    modern social dimensions, of the hobby to be very valuable. Reenactors
                    and professional academics do have a lot of important things to tell
                    one another, but as long as each claims to have sole purview over the
                    world that was, and a willingness to defend those claims by writing off
                    the contributions of the other side completely, then there will be no
                    movement forward on that head.

                    Yr Svt,
                    Wm Tatum



                    >
                    > I'd be interested, Will, in what, if anything, you found interesting
                    > or thought-provoking in this article.
                    >
                    > Cheers,
                    > Dave McKissack
                  • Greg Ketcham
                    Joseph - one shouldn t tar economic historians (or generalist economic academes) with one brush...obviously, their perspective for interpretation is vastly
                    Message 9 of 22 , Aug 2, 2007
                      Joseph - one shouldn't tar economic historians (or generalist economic
                      academes) with one brush...obviously, their perspective for interpretation
                      is vastly different, but also ultimately useful for us in terms of
                      intrepreting data and presenting some conclusions that inform us (the
                      general availability of cotton goods to *all* classes, speaking of exploding
                      reenactor myths).

                      If anything, the ECO faculty that I support here in The Halls of Learning
                      are more progressive, more open to new ideas in teaching and learning than
                      other departments. Take a look at the freakonomics blog sometime to see how
                      folks like this work. So, I stick up for my allies :-)

                      regards,
                      Greg Ketcham
                      2nd Albany


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • J. L. Bell on Revolutionary Boston
                      Joseph Malit wrote:
                      Message 10 of 22 , Aug 2, 2007
                        Joseph Malit wrote:
                        <<Did anyone bother to check Staunton's [sic] credentials?
                        He's an ECONOMIC historian. As such, while he is
                        certainly entitled to his opinion, it should carry no
                        more weight than anyone else's and much LESS weight
                        than the opinion of any competent re-enactor.

                        Now if he were an art historian, a museum curator, or
                        an archaeologist I might tend to grant him a little
                        more credence. I wonder if Staunton has even HEARD of
                        the concept of experimental archaeology?>>

                        A good point, but as an economic historian Daunton might disagree on
                        priorities not only with "living historians" but also with other
                        academic historians who take other approaches to history.

                        Economic historians often study forces within society that most people
                        don't notice, and sometimes can't notice because of their scale.
                        Daunton might think that historians who focus on diplomacy, military
                        developments, biography, religion, etc. might also be missing the point.

                        If he's most interested in, say, how the Little Ice Age affected the
                        sheep-raising economy in central England over the course of two
                        centuries, then of course he'd not going to think that a reenactment of
                        the Battle of Minden would tell anyone enough about his important topic.
                        Not even a "this is how we card wool" demonstration on a sheep farm
                        would do it. Indeed, it might be impossible to both show historical
                        change on that scale and accurately depict the life of an individual.

                        J. L. Bell Boston1775@...

                        Unabashed gossip about the start of the American Revolution at
                        <http://boston1775.blogspot.com>.
                      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.