Performance historian Davis opens a window onto the civil defense movement that was a mainstay of Western governments from 1949 until the collapse of the Eastern Bloc from 1989 to 1991. Civil defense activities included playing out many “as if” scenarios wherein a “time out of time” reality was created, something that NATO members referred to as the “scope of play” (portée du jeu) and the “play of decisions” (jou des décisions). These activities, Davis argues, are inherently performative. But are they history?

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