n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Onderweg na 'n verhuidiglikte verlede : die veranderende aard van geskiedenis as dissipline

Volume 42, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


The origins of scientific history can be traced back to the start of the nineteenth century when Leopold von Ranke stressed the fact that the past had to be written 'wie es eigentlich gewesen (ist)'. The relevance of historicist accounts, aimed at giving science legitimacy, declined as a result of intellectual revolutions that followed in the wake of industrial, technological and communications developments since the second half of the nineteenth century.
In the study attention is given to the apparent decline in significance and stature of history as discipline in the humanities. A number of reasons are outlined for the apparent 'crisis'. Ultimately, the author suggests, it is important to take note of changing trends in science as a whole. Historians need to take cognisance of contemporary demands for comprehending the future. Above all, in a world of rapid change and innovation the past has to be presented in such a manner that it complies with the critical needs prevalent in society. It would imply that history is once again read by all and sundry.

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