On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
DE KLERK, Pieter. The periodisation of South African History in recent overviews. Historia [online]. 2011, vol.56, n.1, pp. 138-152. ISSN 2309-8392.
Various issues relating to historical periodisation have been discussed in scholarly publications. Against the background of these studies the article examines ten overviews written or edited by professional historians since 1990. It appears that there are many similarities between the periodisations of these authors. This indicates that despite differences in aims and viewpoints, they identify the same patterns of continuity and change in South African history. Yet, no periodisations are exactly the same, and the identification, as well as the naming of the different periods in the various overviews, reflect particular interpretations of South African history. Writers of recent overviews still emphasise political and economic developments. Therefore social and cultural aspects do not play an important role in their periodisations. If authors of future overviews pay more attention to these aspects, this will probably have a significant influence on the periodisation of South African history.
Keywords : Apartheid; Boer Republics; Cape Colony; colonialism; cultural history; decolonisation; economic history; Great Trek; historical overviews; historical themes; indigenous population; industrialisation; Mfecane; Natal; periodisation; political history; segregation; social history; South African history; Union of South Africa.