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Gordon Jones (Director of Collections and Exhibitions, Atlanta History Center, and Graduate Institute of the Liberal Arts, Emory University)

"Little Families:" Civil War Reenactment Groups and the Making of Historical Memory

Wednesday, October 10th, 2001, 3:00 p.m.

Far from its public face of vast encampments and sweeping battles, Civil War reenacting is first and foremost a local and small group activity. The building blocks of the hobby are the small local organizations, known as “units,” usually comprised of ten to thirty members closely tied to one another by bonds of family, friendship, and (sometimes) common socio-economic backgrounds. These units become – as reenactors often say – “little families.” It is here within the little family that most decisions about individual reenactors' involvement – including the events they attend and the extent of their period impressions – are contemplated, debated, and decided within a miniature democracy. Likewise, individual conceptions of authenticity and history are either subsumed by group consensus or ultimately expelled from the group -- often at great emotional cost. If historical memory is indeed generated from below, then these little families have become one of the dynamos.


The MARIAL Center
Emory West, 4th Floor, Room 415E

Open to the public
Refreshments will be served

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The MARIAL Center is located on the 4th floor of the main building of Emory's Briarcliff Campus, 1256 Briarcliff Rd. There is ample parking close to the building. Alternatively, you may take the Emory shuttle (Route A). The shuttle leaves every 20 minutes from the main campus and is a 5- to 10-minute ride. Route A shuttle stops are located at the corner of Asbury Circle and Pierce Drive, along Pierce Drive, and in front of the Administration Building. For the shortest travel time, board the shuttle in front of the B. Jones Center.

Please tell the receptionist at the front window that you are here for the MARIAL Center lecture.