Writing Histories and Creating Myths: Perspectives on Trends in the Discipline of History and its Representations in Some South African Historical Journals 1985-1995

  • Johann W.N. Tempelhoff Department of History, Potchefstroom University for CHE
Keywords: Writing Histories and Creating Myths, Trends in the Discipline of History

Abstract

"Such is history. A play of life and death is sought in the calm telling of a tale, in the resurgence and denial of the origin, the unfolding of a dead past and result of a present practice. It reiterates, under another rule, the myths built upon a murder of an originary death and fashions out of language the forever - remnant trace of a beginning that is as impossible to recover as to forget." Michel de Certeall INTRODUCTION: THE PRODUCTION OF HISTORIES AND THEIR CIRCUMSTANCES The study and writing of history rely on very specific circumstances to flourish. Such circumstances prevailed, in ancient Greece when a hyper-critical Athenian, Thucydides (c.460-400B.C.), after the Peloponnesian war in 420BC, produced his history.3 It was also a Europe which had been exposed to a belligerent Napoleonic France and the emergent awareness of Prussian sense of destiny, which inspired a youthful Leopold von Ranke, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, to produce an anti-Enlightenment discourse in his hermeneutics.4 In more recent times a standard history of the Mediterranean and the Mediterranean world, by Fernand Braudel (1902-1985),5 made its appearance in a post-World War II era when the ambitions of global political domination had been transferred from a Western European nucleus to the United States of America (USA) and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). The totalitarian approach of the Annales historians opened up new vistas on historical studies that were incomprehensible at the beginning of the twentieth century.
Published
2012-02-10
How to Cite
Tempelhoff, J. W. (2012). Writing Histories and Creating Myths: Perspectives on Trends in the Discipline of History and its Representations in Some South African Historical Journals 1985-1995. Scientia Militaria - South African Journal of Military Studies, 27(1). https://doi.org/10.5787/27-1-228
Section
Guest Lecture