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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Is a reorientation of South African history a lost cause?
Author:Etherington, NormanISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic term:South Africa
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02582470802417417
Abstract:After reflecting on the mixed reception accorded to his book, 'The Great Treks: the transformation of southern Africa, 1815-1854' (2001), the author points to the many obstacles that stand in the way of dismantling the customary perspective from which South African history has been written from the late nineteenth to the turn of the twenty-first century. A fundamental reorientation is still needed to free the next generation of scholars and students from narrative templates that have outlived their usefulness. Scientific advances make it possible to push the beginnings of human history on the subcontinent back to a previously unimagined antiquity, whose implications have still to be worked out in popular and academic texts. It is equally important to escape teleological narratives which would make 1994 the end of history. In the course of developing these arguments the author takes the opportunity to reflect on the ways that personal experiences and notable encounters during the last four decades of his career have shaped his approach to writing history. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]