By Ken Smith
E.H. Carr said: “Before you study the history, study the historian.” Written history often tells us more about the historian’s own times than it does of the times about which he is writing. The historians and the way in which each generation has rewritten history in the light of its own preoccupations is the subject of The Changing Past. This is the first book-length survey in English that covers all the main trends in South African historiography. Starting with the first documents and histories, it goes on to trace the 19th century. British and settler “schools,” Afrikaans historiography from its pre-academic 19th century phase to the present, and the liberal historians who struck out in a new direction from the 1920s. The book highlights the break with the past that historians of the “new radical school” have made in the last 15 years, and surveys the position of historical writing to the present.
The canvas is delineated in bold strokes that sketch in the main outlines rather than seek an exhaustive treatment of all existing literature. This, together with a conscious effort to minimize theoretical discussion, makes it a highly readable text.
Ken Smith is a professor of History at the University of South Africa. He has written on the Pedi and Graaff-Reinet, contributed to European and African history textbooks, and published a biography of Alfred Aylward. He also writes novels under two pseudonyms and has published one children’s novel under his own name. More info →
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Retail price: $19.95, S.
Release date: July 1989
250 pages · 6 × 9 in.
Recasting the Past
History Writing and Political Work in Modern Africa
Edited by Derek R. Peterson and Giacomo Macola
The study of intellectual history in Africa is in its infancy. We know very little about what Africa’s thinkers made of their times. Recasting the Past brings one field of intellectual endeavor into view. The book takes its place alongside a small but growing literature that highlights how, in autobiographies, historical writing, fiction, and other literary genres, African writers intervened creatively in their political world.The
Writing a Wider War
Rethinking Gender, Race, and Identity in the South African War, 1899–1902
Edited by Greg Cuthbertson, Albert Grundlingh, and Mary-Lynn Suttie
A century after the South African War (1899-1902), historians are beginning to reevaluate the accepted wisdom regarding the scope of the war, its participants, and its impact. Writing a Wider War charts some of the changing historical constructions of the memorialization of suffering during the war.Writing a Wider War presents a dramatically new interpretation of the role of Boer women in the conflict and profoundly changes how we look at the making of Afrikaner nationalism.
African History · Gender Studies · Race and Ethnicity · Violence in Society · South Africa · African Studies
The Migrant Farmer in the History of Cape Colony, 1657–1842
By P. J. van der Merwe
Petrus Johannes Van der Merwe wrote three of the most significant books on the history of South Africa before he was 35 years old. His trilogy, of which The Migrant Farmer is the first volume, has become a classic that no student of Cape colonial history of the seventeenth, eighteenth or nineteenth century can ignore.
African Studies · Southern Africa · South Africa · 19th century · 18th century · 17th century · History · African History · Food Studies · Africa
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