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WRITING HISTORY BEYOND TREVOR-ROPER: THE EXPERIENCE OF AFRICAN HISTORY, WITH SPECIAL REFERENCE TO ZIMBABWE
Paper long abstract:
In this paper, I will connect some issues and developments that at first appear isolated in space and time, yet they help us to understand the journey so far traversed in the writing of Zimbabwean history and where we are potentially going. These are (in no particular order), Hugh Trevor-Roper's argument about there being no African history and what it triggered - the rise of nationalist historiography in the 1960s and subsequent developments; the role of SOAS, London as an institution and its historical relationship with African studies; the Southern Rhodesian Native Affairs Departmental Annual (NADA) as a settler controlled journal that ignited much interest in studying Southern Rhodesian Africans during the colonial era, and lastly, the Rhodesian Reprint Library as a key library to recover white Rhodesian memory and to ignite the Rhodesian white nationalist imagination at a time settler colonialism was in a serious political crisis. Hopefully examining these will highlight salient features and perspectives on the development of African history, with special reference to Zimbabwe. A key strand in all this is the way in which history has been used as a legitimising tool for grander political projects.
Disciplinary trends in Africa: history (double panel)