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TIVAN LEAK

(English to follow)

Die Laboratorium vir die Ekonomie van Afrika se Verlede (LEAP) word gereken as een van die top instellings in die navorsing van geskiedenis in Afrika.

LEAP is in 2015 gestig en is verbonde aan die Universiteit Stellenbosch (US) se departement ekonomie, maar geniet ook grootliks steun vanaf die departement geskiedenis.

LEAP fasiliteer sedert 2016 jaarlikse lesings wat deur gassprekers gebonde aan van die top universiteite in die wêreld, aangebied word.

Die eerste lesing is deur Marianne Wanamaker (Universiteit van Tennessee) waargeneem en die tweede deur Emmanuel Akyeampong (Universiteit Harvard).

Gasspreker prof. Anthony Hopkins het die derde jaarlikse lesing van LEAP aangebied oor die perspektiewe waardeur Afrika se geskiedenis deur die verloop van die afgelope 50 jaar bestudeer is.

Hy het ses fases beskryf, naamlik modernisasie teorie; die afhanklikheidstesis; Marxisme; die analiseskool; post-modernisme; en ekonomiese geskiedenis, en het vertel hoedat daar ’n tipe stam-mentaliteit ontwikkel onder die denkers wat hierdie verskillende perspektiewe aanhang.

Hy het ook verduidelik hoe verskeie krisisse en probleme die oorgang van een fase na die volgende veroorsaak.

Hopkins het op die vraag of dit geregverdig kan word om Afrika se geskiedenis as ’n groep saam te bondel geantwoord: “Dieselfde vraag kan oor enige land of kontinent gevra word. Hierdie entiteite het enorme diversiteit wat veralgemening onmoontlik maak, maar ons moet, as ons dinge wil verstaan, sekere veralgemenings maak.”

Hy het verder ook uitgewys dat Suid-Afrika ’n unieke geval is wat, hoewel dit ook deur die fases gegaan het, in konteks en kronologie grootliks verskil het van die res van Afrika.

Daar moet egter verstaan word dat hoewel die metodes waarvolgens die geskiedenis bestudeer is dieselfde in sekere tydperke was, die konteks en samelewings wat studeer is, nie dieselfde was of is nie. Die gevolgtrekking van Hopkins se lesing was dat Afrika-geskiedenis tans deur akademici hoofsaaklik vanuit ’n ekonomiese geskiedenis perspektief bestudeer word.

Hopkins het verder aangevoer dat hoewel hierdie perspektief die tendens is, dit nie beteken dat daar nie krities daarmee omgegaan moet word nie. Hopkins het verduidelik dat sy eie belangstelling in ekonomiese geskiedenis ontwikkel het vanuit sy belangstelling in die geskiedenis van kapitalisme.

“Daar is nuwe en stimulerende maniere om die onderwerp te ondersoek, nuwe tegnieke en ook nuwe befondsing wat beskikbaar is. Dit is ’n belangrike veld,” het Hopkins verduidelik.

Die departement ekonomie bied ook ’n nagraadse program in Ekonomiese Geskiedenis aan.

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The Laboratory for the Economy of Africa’s History (LEAP) is regarded as one of the top institutions as far as research of African history goes. LEAP was established in 2015 and forms part of Stellenbosch University’s (SU) economic department, but it also enjoys support from the history department.

LEAP has been facilitating yearly lectures since 2016. These lectures have been given by guest speakers from some of the world’s top universities. The first lecture was given by Marianne Wanamaker (University of Tennessee) and the second by Emmanuel Akyeampong (Harvard University).

Guest speaker, prof. Anthony Hopkins, presented the third annual LEAP which was focused on the perspectives through which African history has been studied over the past 50 years. He described six phases, namely modernisation theory; the dependence thesis; Marxism; the analytic school; post-modernism; and economic history. He also explained how a tribe mentality has formed amongst the thinkers that support these different perspectives.

He further explained how different crises and problems caused the shift from one phase to the next. Hopkins answered with regards to whether it can be justified that African history be grouped together: “The same question can be asked about any country or continent.”

“These entities have enormous diversity which make generalisations impossible, however, we have to, in order to understand certain things.”

He further showed that South Africa is a unique case, even though it also went through the phases, but in context and chronology it differs greatly from the rest of Africa. It should, however, be understood that even though the methods through which history is studied are the same in certain periods, the context of the societies being studied aren’t the same.

The conclusion of Hopkins’ lecture was that African history is currently mostly being studied through the perspective of economic history. Hopkins further explained that even though this perspective is the trend doesn’t mean critical engagement with it cannot take place.

Hopkins explained that his own interest in economic history developed from his interest in the history of capitalism. “There are new and stimulating ways to examine the topic; new techniques as well as new funding that is available. It is an important field,” explained Hopkins.

The economic department also offers a postgraduate programme in Economic History.

Photo: Supplied

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