n South African Journal of Higher Education - An argument for history

Volume 14, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



This article, occasioned by the possible disappearance of history from the curriculum of the University of Port Elizabeth, argues that this discipline is a vital part of higher education in contemporary South Africa. History, it argues, should not be seen as the inevitable handmaiden of authority. A historical approach has the capacity to reveal links between academic areas and encourage a critical approach distrustful of superficial generalisation. Examples are given as to how history can make a distinctive approach to higher education, and a strategy is suggested that can integrate history with a range of other disciplines, while also making a distinctive and valuable contribution in its own right. "Mm, I see. It's a waste of time teaching history, is it?" Dixon resolved not to mind what he said to this man. "No. Well taught and sensibly taught, history could do people a hell of a lot of good. But in practice it doesn't work out like that. Things get in the way ..." Kingsley, Amis Lucky Jim:214

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