mirage

Contree: 1991 No 29

Boloka/Manakin Repository

Contree: 1991 No 29

 

Contents

No. 29, April 1991

Articles


Book reviews

Editorial

'Microhistory' - a different look at the past

In terminology and literature local history is specified by various concepts. Apart from local, urban, rural, everyday, environmental and regional history the term local lore is often used as a synonym for this branch of history.

The local historian's interest is indeed in place. To him it forms the decor of history, enabling him to analyse aspects of the past from the perspective of the 'smallest possible social and spacial units'. Its focus on the immediate locale thus provides local history with a different angle than that of national history. Where the latter is actually 'history from above' or from the 'high structures', local history - as an inherent part of social history - concentrates on the 'lower levels'. It studies the individual, group and community in the smaller world or microcosm historically and in its totality (i.e. in width and in depth). The premise is a reconstruction 'from the bottom up', with the 'ordinary', 'everyday' and even 'forgotten' person obtaining a place in history.

This issue of Contree includes examples of such an approach. The focus is on the Bokaap, King William's Town, Bloemfontein during the mid-1920s and, in a broader context, the Langeberg region with its fruit farming. All these articles fit in well with the definition of local history as the 'study of past events and of people or groups in a given geographic area, in and through time.'

Contree and the future

The journal Contree has been published since January 1977 by the HSRC on behalf of the Division for local and Regional History Research. Its objective is to co-ordinate and promote research in this field of study. During 1990 the HSRC completed a wide-ranging programme of organization development which inter alia resulted in the fact that the HSRC itself will not be publishing Contree after 1991. In the meantime negotiations are under way with the Rand Afrikaans University with a view to their taking over and running the journal from early next year. More information on this will appear in the October 1991 issue of Contree.

Redaksioneel

'Mikrogeskiedenis' - 'n ander blik op die verlede

In die vaktaal en -literatuur word plaaslike geskiedenis met 'n verskeidenheid terme omskryf. Behalwe vir lokale, stedelike, landelike, alledaagse, omgewings- en streekgeskiedenis word die konsep heemkunde dikwels as 'n sinoniem vir hierdie vertakking van geskiedenis gebruik.

Die plaaslike historikus se belangstelling is inderdaad in plek. Dit vorm vir hom die dekor van die geskiedenis en stel hom in staat om aspekte van die verlede vanuit die perspektief van die 'smallest possible social and spacial units' te ontleed. Sy onmiddellik-lokale benadering en funksie gee aan plaaslike geskiedenis dus 'n ander invalshoek as die van die nasionale geskiedenis. Laasgenoemde is eintlik 'geskiedenis van bo af', vanuit die 'boonste strukture'. Plaaslike geskiedenis - as inherente deel van sosiale geskiedenis - is daarenteen op die 'onderste vlakke' toegespits. Sodoende word die enkeling, groep en gemeenskap in die kleiner wereld of mikrokosmos histories, in sy totaliteit (d.w.s. in breedte en diepte) bestudeer. Die uitgangspunt is 'n rekonstruksie van 'onder af' waar die 'gewone', 'alledaagse' en selfs 'vergete' mens 'n staanplek in die geskiedenis verwerf.

Voorbeelde van so 'n benadering is in die uitgawe van Contree opgeneem. Daar word naamlik gefokus op die Bokaap, King William's Town, Bloemfontein in die middel-twintigerjare van hierdie eeu en, in 'n ietwat breër verband, die Langebergstreek met sy vrugtebedryf. Al die bydraes sluit mooi aan by die definisie van plaaslike geskiedenis as die 'study of past events and of people or groups in a given geographic area, in and through time.'

Contree en die toekoms

Sedert Januarie 1977 word die vaktydskrif Contree deur die RGN gepubliseer ten behoewe van die Afdeling Plaaslike en Streekgeskiedenisnavorsing met die doel om navorsing op hierdie gebied te koördineer en te bevorder. Gedurende 1990 bet die RGN 'n ingrypende program van organisasie-ontwikkeling afgehandel; dit het onder meer tot gevolg dat Contree na 1991 nie meer deur die RGN self uitgegee sal word nie. Onderhandelinge is intussen aangeknoop met die Randse Afrikaanse Universiteit om Contree vroeg aanstaande jaar oor te neem en te bedryf. Nadere besonderhede hieroor verskyn in die Oktober 1991-uitgawe van die tydskrif.

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