About me

My focus on regional history commenced at the start of my academic career in 1986.

Elize Van Eden

Elize S van Eeden

My focus on variants of regional history studies commenced at the start of my academic career in 1986 (after 4 years in Further Education and Training).

My mentors, Proff PF van der Schyff, P Prinsloo and the late Dr PHR Snyman (HSRC), suggested a model of doing regional history that originated from the work of scholars like Harvey R Feinberg and Victor HT Skipp, and so informed the approach of the Regional Section of the Human Sciences and Research Council of South Africa. I adopted this approach as research paradigm in my MA and PhD research (as well as in a monograph) on the former Far West Rand region, and so became a regional history expert of this region, though I have also completed several in-depth research on other places in other regions based on the same methodology. After my post-graduate studies I passionately continued research in regional history by adhering to mainly four central foci in this field of history. That is: Space and Place Studies – Method and Historiographies, and in which the histories of especially demarcated areas, but also borderless regions, are the foci of research and writing. Identifying and applying more traditional research forms, but also modern methodological thoughts, form part of this focus.

As a more thematic-centred research approach on regions a reflection on Regional Economic Drivers – Developments, Distortions and Best Practice forms a second part of my regional history studies approach, and is the space of study mainly related to mining areas. Thirdly, and currently a very active part of the regional history studies I am involved in, is more phenomenon-orientated research within an integrative multidisciplinary research effort on the Ecohealth and Wellbeing Status of People Living in Mining Areas. This focus also covers efforts to determine a sense of “homeyness” of people in mining towns or areas as part of their inner wellbeing. Though the major spatial emphasis is to conduct this focus in the wider Far West Rand region, the application potential of this research approach to other communities in other demarcated or across border regions and provinces, are high. Having gained reliable knowledge in regional trends related to human settlement, challenges and needs, will assist policy makers and local governments with information required to create sustainable societies and environments.

A fourth focus in regional history studies research is Teaching Local Space and Place in History. As all historians mostly have a lecturing obligation, it was a matter of principle to me to also become involved in this effort to assist other lecturers and also educators in ways of approaching themes on any aspect of the national history from a regional and local historical angle.

An involvement in community engagements related to one’s discipline also occasionally surface, and so a last general section has been added on some of my participations and contributions in general debates and issues. More about me is available in the rest of the sections available.