100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town

 

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dc.contributor.author Phillips, Howard
dc.date.accessioned 2016-08-30T13:35:56Z
dc.date.available 2016-08-30T13:35:56Z
dc.date.issued 2004
dc.identifier http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02582470409464802
dc.identifier.citation Phillips, H. (2004). 100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. South African Historical Journal, 50(1), 199-209.
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21602
dc.description.abstract Observing institutional birthdays is not something academic historians readily undertake nowadays – their training makes them habitually wary of the constructed nature of such events and of the self-preening which usually accompanies them. All too often such occasions become part of a celebration of an invented tradition of origins, in which founders’ days are ‘seized on with alacrity for displays of pageantry, where, with high-ranking officials ever present, the narrative inevitably extol[s] … supposed progress and virtues’.1 However, commemorating a centenary is perhaps in a different category, for doing so has long roots in Western culture, dating back to the Biblical Jubilee, the Roman Catholic Church’s first Holy Year in 1300 and the veneration of the decimal system by the European Enlightenment. This makes marking a centenary seem quite natural, so easing the discomfort of historians with such an occasion. Moreover, when, as in the case of the centenary of the foundation of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) chair of history in 2003, the original event also signalled the inception of history as a university discipline in its own right in subSaharan Africa, the inducement to commemorate this step is difficult to resist. Added to this, 100 years is a meaningful timespan for reflecting on an institution, being long enough for a degree of historical perspective but short enough to permit the voices of some of the actors to be clearly heard too, perhaps once and – thanks to the tape recorder and video camera – forever. In a centenary year, therefore, both a microscope and telescope can be employed to good effect. It was with such ideas in mind that in 2002 UCT’s Department of Historical Studies contemplated its coming centenary and decided not to let it pass unnoticed.
dc.language.iso eng
dc.source South African Historical Journal
dc.source.uri http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rshj20
dc.title 100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town
dc.type Journal Article en_ZA
dc.date.updated 2015-12-24T07:46:39Z
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Article en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of Historical Studies en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
uct.type.filetype Image
dc.identifier.apacitation Phillips, H. (2004). 100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. <i>South African Historical Journal</i>, http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21602 en_ZA
dc.identifier.chicagocitation Phillips, Howard "100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town." <i>South African Historical Journal</i> (2004) http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21602 en_ZA
dc.identifier.vancouvercitation Phillips H. 100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town. South African Historical Journal. 2004; http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21602. en_ZA
dc.identifier.ris TY - Journal Article AU - Phillips, Howard AB - Observing institutional birthdays is not something academic historians readily undertake nowadays – their training makes them habitually wary of the constructed nature of such events and of the self-preening which usually accompanies them. All too often such occasions become part of a celebration of an invented tradition of origins, in which founders’ days are ‘seized on with alacrity for displays of pageantry, where, with high-ranking officials ever present, the narrative inevitably extol[s] … supposed progress and virtues’.1 However, commemorating a centenary is perhaps in a different category, for doing so has long roots in Western culture, dating back to the Biblical Jubilee, the Roman Catholic Church’s first Holy Year in 1300 and the veneration of the decimal system by the European Enlightenment. This makes marking a centenary seem quite natural, so easing the discomfort of historians with such an occasion. Moreover, when, as in the case of the centenary of the foundation of the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) chair of history in 2003, the original event also signalled the inception of history as a university discipline in its own right in subSaharan Africa, the inducement to commemorate this step is difficult to resist. Added to this, 100 years is a meaningful timespan for reflecting on an institution, being long enough for a degree of historical perspective but short enough to permit the voices of some of the actors to be clearly heard too, perhaps once and – thanks to the tape recorder and video camera – forever. In a centenary year, therefore, both a microscope and telescope can be employed to good effect. It was with such ideas in mind that in 2002 UCT’s Department of Historical Studies contemplated its coming centenary and decided not to let it pass unnoticed. DA - 2004 DB - OpenUCT DP - University of Cape Town J1 - South African Historical Journal LK - https://open.uct.ac.za PB - University of Cape Town PY - 2004 T1 - 100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town TI - 100 years old and still making history: The centenary of the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Cape Town UR - http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21602 ER - en_ZA


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