Authentic recreation: living history and leisure

Lain Hart


This essay considers a postmodern interpretation of the concept of authenticity and a criticism of that interpretation advanced from an ethnographic perspective. The author shows how these theoretical issues arise at American Civil War re-enactments by describing the ways by which the re-enactment community establishes authentic appearances at Civil War performances. The essay then considers the commercial activity conducted at Civil War events, and concludes by speaking to the question, posed by the postmodernists, as to whether it is possible to represent the past authentically.

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Museum and Society

ISSN 1479-8360