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The social rules of engagement: race and gender relations in civil war reenactment
Kennedy, Amanda Elizabeth

2004, Master of Arts, Ohio State University, Sociology.

Existing perspectives on race and gender dynamics subsume one to the other, view them as instances of a common discriminatory phenomenon, or treat them as interlocking parts of a single system of domination. I argue that race and gender dynamics must be examined comparatively to see what is common to both, while also using each to highlight the specificity of the other. This paper undertakes such a comparative analysis by examining race and gender dynamics in Civil War re-enactments. Civil War reenacting represents an ideal location for an examination of contemporary race and gender issues because the fault lines of present-day race and gender tensions and conflicts are especially visible in efforts to represent the past.

Based on 29 in-depth interviews with "re-enactors" or "living historians" of the Civil War era and field observations of two Civil War reenactments, I show that certain parallel processes operate with respect to both race and gender: (1) idealization of the past ;(2) reproduction of oppression in the present, and (3) dynamic renegotiation and contestation of past and present. However, these processes do not play out the same way for race as for gender. Racism among participants in the re-enactment subculture is difficult to contest, despite the existence of a strong taboo against overt racial displays, because of its furtive nature. Conversely, the challenges of contesting sexism stem not from its hidden nature, but rather from its greater social acceptability. These differences are not essential to the nature of race and gender inequality, I argue, but result from the divergent outcomes of anti-racist and anti-sexist movements in our society.

Steven Lopez (Advisor)
46 p.

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Kennedy, A. (2004). The social rules of engagement: race and gender relations in civil war reenactment. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Kennedy, Amanda. "The social rules of engagement: race and gender relations in civil war reenactment." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2004. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 04 Jul 2015.

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Kennedy, Amanda "The social rules of engagement: race and gender relations in civil war reenactment." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2004. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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