SSI1 137

The Boer War and South African Society

The 1899-1902 Boer War (or Anglo-Boer War or South African War) has been called one of the British Empire's "little wars," but in terms of South African history its impact was anything but little. The war transformed the political landscape of Southern Africa, ushered in a new era in the regional economy and set in motion a "native policy" which would ultimately culminate in the imposition of apartheid. As a site of historical inquiry, too, the war offers unique opportunities. It is extraordinarily well-documented, by war correspondents like Winston Churchill, medical observers like Arthur Conan Doyle and ordinary South Africans like Sol Plaatje and Olive Schreiner. Furthermore, the shifts in how historians approach the Boer War--moving from a "white man's war" model to a paradigm that takes into account race, class and gender--reflect larger changes in historical scholarship. Although this course will be concerned with the events and trends during the war, it will focus even more on how a historical narrative is constructed and critiqued and on how students can develop their own interpretations of the period. Affiliate department: History.