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Colonisation of the geographical mind : a critical contextual analysis of the institutionalisation and establishment of geography as an academic discipline in South Africa

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dc.contributor.author Wesso HM en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T11:02:37Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T11:02:37Z
dc.date.created 1986 en
dc.date.submitted 1992 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/101698
dc.description.abstract The existence of geography in South Africa, both as a school subject and as an university discipline, is fundamentally linked to the contribution it could make to schooling during the period of British colonial rule. Much of what we regard as our educational system today is derived from the way the country was colonised and from the social pressures initiated by colonisation. Education during the colonial period was, initially characterised by the central place of moral-religious principles in Dutch/Boer education, and later, the anglicisation education under British rule. Of particular importance during the latter period, was the inculcation of empire sentiment Empire education was seen to be important for two reasons: (1) to bolster Britain's world position by reinforcing the unity the Empire; and (2) to inculcate in young people, especially the Afrikaner, an acceptance of their political position under British rule. In the aftermath of the Anglo-Boer War (1899 - 1902) the British authorities realised that people could not be ruled by political force alone, but that the control of ideas played an equally important role. It was also necessary to colonise the mind people, and the best way the ideology of Empire could promoted, was to harness the educational system. Geography a school subject, was seen to be an important medium through which imperial ideology could be in the minds of young people, and it was, therefore, made to serve the needs of the colonial rulers. Geography was thus made, not only in a physical and spatial sense, but it was also made in the mind. Very little research has been done on the history of geography in South Africa. Especially in the present context of decolonisation, it is necessary also to decolonise our minds, and this begins with an understanding how current thinking came to be. We cannot effect a process of change without first knowing how changes came about in the past. This study is, therefore, mainly concerned with the institutionalisation of geography in South Africa and in particular the process by which ideas, geographical ideas or ideas about geography, were imposed on people in order to justify imperialism. Firstly, the study shows how, with the intensification British imperialist influence during the nineteenth century, geography was seen to be an important instrument in establishing British hegemonic control. Secondly, it is argued that the changing educational environment in South Africa during the early years of this century, prompted by socio-economic and political transformation, provided the basis for continuous British influence in geographical discourse and that this led to the introduction of the 'new' geography and, eventually, the establishment of geography as an academic, discipline. Thirdly, it is suggested that the study of geography has always been a white man's domain, and that it conveniently served to teach blacks their place in society. In the light of the growing debate regarding the decolonisation of education and scientific discourse in South Africa, this study also, in conclusion, briefly reflect on the decolonisation of geography. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject Geography, human and regional en
dc.subject History en
dc.title Colonisation of the geographical mind : a critical contextual analysis of the institutionalisation and establishment of geography as an academic discipline in South Africa en
dc.type Doctoral degree en
dc.description.degree DPhil en


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