mirage

Contree: 1978 No 3

Boloka/Manakin Repository

Contree: 1978 No 3

 

Contents

No. 3, January 1978

Articles


Book reviews

Editorial

Researchers and post-graduate students working in the field of urban and regional history do not get special training. They are usually students who have taken the normal history degree. Nobody would deny that this course provides a splendid foundation for further study, but researchers in urban and regional history often come across problems for which they have not been prepared at university. Three points could be mentioned:

First, it is expected that the researcher should take into account a wider spectrum of human life than the obvious economic, military and political activities. To decide which factors are relevant and which are not is no small challenge to the uninitiated.

Next, having determined what is important the researcher is faced with a second problem: to find suitable source material. As a rule the traditional sources do not provide the answers to all his questions What is more, one has not only to look for new repositories, but also trace documents and particulars not of the traditional kind. Unconventional methods are often required to solve this dilemma and a little advice and training would assist the researcher in his task.

Finally, the sources must be exploited. Those used by the urban and regional historian need to be tackled in a different way since the information they contain is often only indirectly relevant. The researcher must know what questions to ask to get the required answers. Part of the equipment he needs is the ability to handle numerous statistics, and this may necessitate using a computer, in the handling of which most history graduates are completely untrained.

As these are matters which fall under the science of history as a whole, they could well be given attention at university level.

Redaksioneel

Navorsers en nagraadse studente op die gebied van die stedelike en streekgeskiedenis ontvang geen spesiale opleiding nie, maar is studente wat die gewone geskiedenisgraad behaal het. Hoewel niemand dit al betwis dat hierdie opleiding ‘n goeie fondament vir latere navorsing Iê nie, is dit ook waar dat navorsers wat hulle aan die stedelike en streekgeskiedenis waag met vraagstukke te doen kry waarop hulle nie aan die universiteit voorberei is nie. In hierdie verband verdien drie sake aandag:

In die eerste plek word dit van die navorser op hierdie gebied verwag om kennis te neem van ‘n wyer spektrum van menslike aktiwiteit as die voor-die-hand-liggende ekonomiese, militêre en staatkundige aangeleenthede. Om te bepaal watter aspekte ter sake is, is geen geringe taak vir die oningewyde nie.

As die navorser bepaal het wat belangrik is, kom hy voor ‘n tweede vraagstuk te staan, naamlik dié van geskikte bronne. Gewoonlik verskaf die tradisionele bronne nie antwoorde op sy vrae nie. Dit bring mee dat hy nie net nuwe opslagplekke moet soek nie, maar ook andersoortige besonderhede en dokumente. Aangesien die navorser soms van onkonvensionele metodes gebruik moet maak, sal ‘n mate van voorligting en opleiding hom goed te stade kom.

Uiteindelik moet die navorser hierdie bronne benut. Bronne vir die stedelike en streekgeskiedenis stel ander eise aan die navorser omdat die inligting daarin dikwels net indirek ter sake is. Die navorser moet dus weet watter vrae om te stel ten einde die verlangde antwoorde te kry. Navorsers moet toegerus wees om statistiese gegewens te verwerk, wat in baie gevalle die gebruik van 'n rekenaar noodsaaklik mag maak, en daarin ontvang die meeste geskiedenisstudente geen opleiding nie.

Aangesien dit ‘n saak is wat die geskiedeniswetenskap in sy geheel raak, sal dit goed wees as dit op universiteitsvlak aandag geniet.

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