oa Alternation - Current Trends in the Production of South African History

Volume 5, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



One of us is regarded as one of the founders, in exile, of 'revisionist' historiography in the early 1970s, and dropped out of the academy for ten years in the 1980s', The other's formation was in the 1980s, initially under the influence of 'structuralism' in the economic history department at UCT, subsequently practising 'social history', This paper gives our reading of the state and trajectory of the contemporary production of history in South Africa. It is the first time we have worked jointly, and this paper represents an unfinished dialogue between our different pre-conceived ideas on the question. We are more concerned with raising issues and problems for discussion than with providing complete answers. We try to situate the contemporary production of history against the background of a past trajectory: of the birth in exile and subsequent rise to hegemony of revisionism-radicalism-Marxism (some academics accept one label; others another) in the English-speaking academy, and (within that) the rise to hegemony in the 1980s of 'social history' as promoted by spokespersons of History Workshop'.

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