Settlers, Creoles, and the Re-Enactment of History: A Conference on the Re-Enactment of Historical Events
This is the third in a series of conferences devoted to the topic of re-enactment history. Common to all aspects of re-enactment is a tacit or unspoken element not disclosed in the original scene. This surplus of the existing historical narrative--or image, or experience, or experiment--comes into focus solely by means of re-enactment or re-presentation. It releases data and energy that was not considered important at the time of the original transaction, but which is important now and alters the way that it is understood or apprehended in the present. This surplus may be the result of modern prejudices in favor of certain once occult elements upon whose behalf it is considered urgent to speak, such as slaves, women, and victims of genocide. But equally likely is an actual constituent of the historical moment that becomes visible only under the magnifying glass of re-enactment. Similarly, re-enactment quickens in the modern subject a set of responses not available to the first witnesses of events, not necessarily because they were repressed by ancient epistemologies and now are released by modern ones, but because repetition itself intensifies the effects of historical facts.