oa Historia - Meester van die parallel : 'n huldeblyk aan professor F.A. van Jaarsveld met sy sewentigste verjaarsdag

Volume 37 Number 2
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Master of the parallel: a tribute to Professor F.A. van Jaarsveld on his seventieth birthday. During a career spanning almost a half a century, Professor F.A. van Jaarsveld frequently made use of the parallel technique to clarify history. In essence, parallelism suggests an investigation to find similarities between events. In terms of Descartian understanding, it is accepted that the results of investigation are determined by the way in which the observer perceives reality. Although there are no historical laws, there are indications of similarities in the history of mankind over the course of time. Professor van Jaarsveld uses this parallel technique particularly in his critical, comparative historiography. In these studies, this technique enabled him to identify the different schools of historical writing in South Africa. In the sphere of methodology he emphasised the need for the practice of contemporary history. With a knowledge of the past, it is possible for the historian to understand the time in which he is living. Later, partially at the cost of sacrificing political history, he accentuated socio-economic history by pointing out the effect of urbanisation and industrialisation on South African society. In his critical cultural studies on Afrikaner society, Professor van Jaarsveld made extensive use of the parallel technique. His historical and contemporary parallels, which were often misunderstood incorrectly, clarified the historical and contemporary circumstances of the Afrikaans-speaking community of South Africa in a stimulating manner. In this tribute which celebrates Professor van Jaarsveld's seventieth birthday, the author also makes an evaluation of his most recent work and comes to the conclusion that Professor van Jaarsveld is now in a postmodernist phase of historical writing.

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