oa Historia - Feite of fiksie : Freudiaanse fantasie en 'n feministiese beeld van Susanna Smit

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0018-229X



Facts or fiction -Freudian fantasy and a feminist view of Susanna Smit. In his article Die Voortrekkervrou as dwarstrekker -'n feministiese lesing (The contrariness of the Voortrekker woman -a feminist perspective) T. Gouws depicts the Voortrekker woman as dominated and oppressed. To support this argument, he employs a Freudian interpretation of the dreams which Susanna Smit recorded in her diary. Irrespective of the dubious validity of psychoanalysis as a method of historical inquiry, Gouws' whole argument displays a disregard for the task and methodology of historiography, which are grounded in the establishment of true and verifiable facts. His conclusions are not based on empirical research but have been deduced from a theory and the interpretation of so-called symbols, of which the validity cannot be determined. The following article demonstrates that Gouws had totally ignored both the spirit of the time as well as the cultural milieu of the 19th century Cape Colony in general and that of its eastern pioneer society in particular. He approaches his subject from a perspective unique to his own era, a method which is absolutely unacceptable to the historian. Thus Gouws fails to make any contribution to historiography and he has not added anything new to our understanding of Susanna Smit.

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