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On-line version ISSN 2309-8392
Print version ISSN 0018-229X


SPARKS, Stephen. New Turks and Old Turks: The historiographical legacies of South African social history. Historia [online]. 2013, vol.58, n.1, pp.191-214. ISSN 2309-8392.

This article places the production and reception of the second volume of the Cambridge History of South Africa in broader historiographical and political context, outlining some of the criticisms directed at the volume and at the "revisionist" scholarship which the content of the volume largely reflects. After a discussion of the specific trajectory of the "cultural turn" in South African social history writing, a close reading and critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the new volume is provided. The review agrees with criticisms about the limiting effects of the "nation state" framing of the volume, and the failure of the majority of authors to engage with larger theoretical debates about South Africa's history. The review nonetheless welcomes the volume as a long overdue synthesis of the "revisionist" social history writing which did so much to advance South African historiography over the last quarter of the twentieth century and which will doubtless continue to provide the foundation for new historical scholarship for years to come.

Keywords : apartheid; historiography; new cultural history; radical history; revisionism; social history; South African history.

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