"Idag ska vi ändra historien"


  • Lotten Gustafsson


"Today we are going to change history!" Hayden White has pointed out that the narrativization of history adds a sense of causality and moral value to past events. Building upon these ideas I will analyze six differing ways to narrate the Danish take-over of Visby in 1361. My main focus is on public dramatizations, enacted during the Medieval week on the Baltic island of Gotland. The story enacted in this commemorative festival has repeatedly been subjected to reconstructions concerning its story-line, perspective and role characterization. Some changes are initiated by the festival organizers whereas others result from playful and provocative moves that challenge their intentions. The different versions evoked by these reconstructions reevaluate and decenter the focus of preceding representations. Doing so they also turn the public performances of a historical narrative and the play about its plot into a medium in which constructions of contemporary community and identity may be claimed, contested and negotiated.