Writing book reviews has been relegated to scholarly community service or collegial courtesy in a system which does not recognise reviewing books as a "performance indicator". Yet the fact remains, that Walker's collection received far more attention in the way of reviews than Gasa's and the citation history for the Walker volume is also more illustrious. Encouraging for the Gasa volume is to observe that the impact of the Walker collection seems to have increased with age.
International Handbook of Higher Education
Bibliometric data in itself, of course, is neither self-explanatory nor conclusive of any tendencies. As Kousha, Thelwall and Rezaie reminded readers in a study of , influential research can remain uncited and bibliometrical indicators are no replacement for research-quality assessment. It also indicated that the Walker volume has had an effect on the shaping of historical writing on South Africa by international scholars. Moving on to another set of information, that on the prevalence of the two books in libraries in South Africa and across the world, it is clear that the Walker volume has circulated far more effectively over the past two and a half decades than the Gasa one over the decade since its appearance.
SACat indicates that 36 South African libraries hold a copy both electronic and hard format of the Gasa-edited book. With the HSRC's open access policy, however, the latter can be downloaded from the website of the press free of charge. It is significant that this free access has not translated into intensive citation over the past few years.
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With these hard facts in mind, it helps to turn, for perspective, to scholars who are working, writing and teaching in the field. In an interview in , Sheila Meintjes, who has contributed to both volumes, pointed out that Gasa's book was not intended to contest Walker's collection, but to show how women's issues took shape within different institutions. On the same topic, also in an interview in , Natasha Erlank concurred.
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She argued that what Gasa's collection does, which Women and Gender in Southern Africa to does not do, is to tackle issues that became polemical in the s on the difference between Western style socialist feminism and what some of the contributors in Gasa's collection termed Western feminism and "womanism". In a nutshell, the focus in Gasa's collection was more contemporary and less historical. In , Manicom pointed out that it could not be "assumed that the production of a 'critical mass' of feminist and women's history will prompt a more profound, gendered rethinking of the historical enterprise".
Walker's and Gasa's volumes stand out as two beacons that have presented women's history with new perspectives as opposed to previous historiographies that ignored women's history. In the institutions that were to become the schools and colleges of the University were already, in common with institutions of higher education in other parts of the country, in receipt of modest Treasury grants.
Why this should have been the case is open to debate, but it is worth pointing out that Langham was himself a Benedictine and may have hesitated to fully condemn one of the most prominent members of his own order. Noel and H. Graduates returning from European and Pacific fields of battle found a university very different from the one they had left behind. History and Literature in the Augustan Age Ithaca,. The two volumes also indicated the shift in methodological approaches.
They presented a challenge for social historians to rethink the place that women's history has occupied in their perspective. The reviews of both volumes serve as a testimony to their impact and the fact that they have sparked debate in feminist circles. As van der Spuy and Clowes argued, Women in History was not the first comprehensive volume on the history of women, as mistakenly implied in Sokari's review of Gasa's volume.
Walker's volume was first, as is evident from the fact that even some of the contributors, including Gasa herself, make reference to it in their work.
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The continued use and long-term citation record of Walker's volume indicated that women's history has gained some prominence in South African studies internationally, which in turn, reinforced its status in South Africa. It may not have developed as a separate field of study, but the citation evidence, and the reflections of the scholars involved, imply that South African women's history has become more pervasive in various fields of historical scholarship.
The reviews of the two volumes showed that the two books were received differently mainly because of the reviewers' positions. Most of Walker's reviewers were adamant that the contributors did not dwell much on agency and how women contested the situations they faced. The Gasa reviewers, on the other hand, believed that the contributors had gone beyond just rectificatory history; they had explained how women contested the contours of an uneven society.
They do not just relate what women did in the past, they show how women challenged patriarchal society. The main difference between these two volumes is that while Walker's volume did not include all racial groups in South Africa, Gasa's attempted to accommodate most racial groups. Moreover, the sources available to Gasa's contributors were more accessible than those available at the time when Walker's was compiled. In terms of similarities, both volumes acknowledged that the contributions are not exhaustive and there is room for further debate on women's history in South Africa.
Indian identity, PAC and Inkatha membership, lesbian rights and many other themes were not covered intensively in either volume. Nevertheless, both publications were beacons in the historiography of South African women's history. Irrespective of the reviews mentioned above, the fact remains that in the late s and early s, there were few black academics in South Africa to contribute to Walker's volume.
They were more concerned with the fight against apartheid than looking into the role of women in the liberation struggle.
In this section
The readings here show that even women in exile were too heavily involved in the struggle to strive for the emancipation of women as individuals. Gasa's volume was testament to the fact that much had changed by More black women are academics and live in a politically free South Africa; they have contributed forcefully to the volume. The fact that Gasa's volume was sanctioned by the post South Africa, is a clear indication of the growth of women's history in South Africa. The government recognised the need to prioritise women's history. The prominence of academics and male historians in the production of women's history narratives has been dimmed in favour of those complied by activists and feminists who are now taking centre stage in the production of women's history in South Africa.
Monica Azzolini | Università di Bologna - mindblutibta.tk
The two volumes have claimed space for women's history within the public sphere. They have influenced the study of history with various stimulating approaches and have raised new debates. What remains in question is whether and to what extent they have contributed to the shaping and shifting of the categories of women's history, feminist history and gender history in the South African context.
In an article published in Rethinking History in , Penelope Corfield summarised the international tendency in women's history as a field "transforming itself - again not without continuing controversy - into the study of historical gender. That shift suggests that the subject has its own internal dynamic as well as sharing in wider changes within the discipline. Indeed as early as , Judith Bennett suggested that "the nascent field of women's history provides a new forum for feminist investigations of the past".
Part One: Global Themes and Contemporary Challenges, Part Two: Regions and Countries
To what extent would Corfield's assertion about women's history's rapid movement "from a fringe interest into a mainstream one", be applicable to the South African scene? Our assessment of the Walker and Gasa volumes in this article and the reflections on their influence shared by the scholars who were interviewed and asked for their opinions, confirm that over the past decades, women's agency has been made more visible and that more women have been introduced to a more radical approach of analysing historical data. It remains to be seen whether women's history has been elevated, institutionalised and prioritised in totality in the South African context, or whether we are still in the throes of this process, which as Gaitskell explained some two decades ago, must precede any possible aspiration towards gender history.
It is also doubtful whether the potential released by volumes such as those by Walker and Gasa have been absorbed into the South African History school curricula appropriately. These are avenues inviting further investigation and debate. Abrahams, Y. Barnes, T. Beall, J. Bennett, J. Berger, I. Bozzoli, B. Bruns, K. Burman, S. Callinicos, L. Carruthers, J.
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To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Guide to Reading , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Apr 06, Anita rated it really liked it Recommends it for: bibliophiles. Recommended to Anita by: a bookshop selling really old books mainly selling theology who. Shelves: books-about-books-and-reading , This little gem originally published in my edition was designed as a one year course of study that would provide it's reader with knowledge worthy of a four year course of study at university with 22 accompaning books.
What is so worthy by reading this tiny little volume you may ask. Well, let me tell you. There are two essays in the beginning about reading. They may be ornaments, tools, This little gem originally published in my edition was designed as a one year course of study that would provide it's reader with knowledge worthy of a four year course of study at university with 22 accompaning books.