What is re-enactment and how does it relate to heritage? Re-enactments are a ubiquitous part of popular and memory culture and are of growing importance to heritage studies. As concept and practice, re-enactments encompass a wide range of forms: from the annual ‘Viking Moot’ festival in Denmark drawing thousands of participants and spectators, to the (re)staged war photography of An-My Lê, to the Titanic Memorial Cruise commemorating the centennial of the ill-fated voyage, to the symbolic retracing of the Berlin Wall across the city on 9 November 2014 to mark the 25th anniversary of its toppling.
Re-enactments involve the sensuousness of bodily experience and engagement, the exhilarating yet precarious combination of imagination with ‘historical fact’, in-the-moment negotiations between and within temporalities, and the compelling drive to re-make, or re-presence, the past. As such, re-enactments present a number of challenges to traditional understandings of heritage, including taken-for-granted assumptions regarding fixity, conservation, originality, ownership and authenticity. Using a variety of international, cross-disciplinary case studies, this volume explores re-enactment as practice, problem, and/or potential, in order to widen the scope of heritage thinking and analysis toward impermanence, performance, flux, innovation and creativity.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the International Journal of Heritage Studies.