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n Historia - "Angry Young Men" : F.A. van Jaarsveld, T.S. van Rooyen and the Afrikaner historiographical polemic of 1953-1954

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Abstract

<b>"Angry young men" : F.A. van Jaarsveld, T.S. van Rooyen en die Afrikaner historiografiese polemiek van 1953-1954</b> <br>In 1950 het F.A. van Jaarsveld van sy studies in Nederland teruggekeer. Hy was ambisieus en ongeduldig om homself te laat geld en Afrikaner historiografie te verander en te verbeter. In sy proefskrif het hy verpletterende opmerkings oor die apologetiese en subjektiewe aard van historici verbonde aan die Universiteit van Pretoria (UP) gemaak. Die gevolg was dat hy nie 'n akademiese pos kon vind nie. As 'n gefrustreerde onderwyser het hy 'n reeks artikels gepubliseer waarin hy die historici van UP gekritiseer het. Van Jaarsveld se aanvalle was nie net die gevolg van sy besorgdheid oor die toestand van Afrikanergeskiedskrywing nie, maar ook van sy vyandigheid teenoor sy alma mater se Geskiedenis Departement. In die proses het hy 'n surrogaat geword vir die konserwatiewe G.D. Scholtz, 'n goeie vriend, wat om persoonlike redes die historici van UP wou bykom. Die hoof teenaanval het van T.S. van Rooyen, 'n tydelike dosent in UP se Geskiedenis Departement, gekom. Alhoewel hulle oor die aard van Afrikanergeskiedskrywing gedebatteer het, was dit 'n persoonlike konflik om mekaar te klop, aangesien hulle mededingers was vir 'n toekomstige, en skaars, akademiese pos by 'n Afrikaanse universiteit. Dit was 'n polemiek wat nie net die persoonlikhede en loopbane van Van Jaarsveld en Van Rooyen geskaad het nie, maar ook 'n negatiewe uitwerking op Afrikaner geskiedskrywing gehad het.

In 1950 F.A. van Jaarsveld returned from his studies in the Netherlands, impatient and ambitious to change, improve and make his mark on Afrikaner historiography. In his dissertation, Van Jaarsveld made scathing remarks about the apologetic and subjective nature of historians associated with the University of Pretoria (UP). The result was that he was unable to secure an academic post. As a frustrated school teacher, he published a succession of articles criticising UP historians. These attacks were not only motivated by Van Jaarsveld's concerns about the state of Afrikaner historiography, but also by enmity towards his alma mater's history department. In the process he acted as a surrogate for the conservative G.D. Scholtz, a close friend, who had an axe to grind with UP historians. The main counter-attack came from T.S. van Rooyen, a temporary lecturer in the UP's History Department. Although they debated the nature of Afrikaner historiography, it was very much a personal clash to beat each other, as they were competitors for any rare future post at an Afrikaans university. The polemic not only harmed the personalities and careers of Van Jaarsveld and Van Rooyen, but also had a stultifying effect on Afrikaner historiography.

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/content/hist/49/2/EJC38160
2004-11-01
2016-12-06
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