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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
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BERGH, J.S.. P.J. (Piet) van der Merwe and D.J. (Dirk) Kotzé at the helm at Stellenbosch, 1959-1977: Golden years or wasted opportunities?. Historia [online]. 2008, vol.53, n.2, pp.208-262. ISSN 2309-8392.

This article focuses on the period 1959 to 1977, but also brings into play the years prior to and afterwards when necessary. It utilizes the reminiscences of colleagues and students of P.J. van der Merwe and D.J. Kotzé together with other sources. During this period the department manifested sharp contrasts between outstanding achievements and significant shortcomings. The merit of Van der Merwe and Kotzé's publications was, for example, widely acknowledged by peers at the time. The theses of postgraduate students were notably of a markedly high quality as well. The teaching to third year and honours students was, however, more of a mixed bag. Students of the late fifties and sixties sharply criticized Van der Merwe in this regard. The weak link of this period was the autocratic style of governance and lack of academic interaction between colleagues within the department and with other departments of History. Despite these shortcomings, students and lecturers of this period nevertheless managed to establish themselves in competitive positions amongst fellow historians in South Africa - to a larger degree than in any other comparable period in the history of the department. This demonstrates the positive influence of this period to a certain extent.

Keywords : Academic interaction; D.J. Kotzé; Department of History at Stellenbosch; historiography; P.J. van der Merwe; supervision; teaching; University of Stellenbosch.

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