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Outsider's Perspectives in Dutch Biography: The Year in the Netherlands

Renders, H. & Veltman, D., 14-Mar-2018, In : Biography; an interdisciplinary quarterly. 40, 4, p. 633-640 8 p., 15.

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In her contribution to the edited volume The Biographical Turn: Lives in History,
South African researcher Lindie Koorts introduces Herman Giliomee’s
The Afrikaners: Biography of a People as “arguably the most influential contribution to post-1994 Afrikaner historiography” (150). The selection of “prominent individuals” who were honored with a short biography in this book was not based upon a canon of Afrikaner heroes but on a political theory outlined by the American scholar Michael Walzer. Walzer describes the “connected critic” as the individual who is bound to his community, although observing it from the periphery to remain critical of its injustices (xi). This concept of the “connected critic” offers insight into the question how biography can give shape to a community, including or excluding the way a subject criticizes society’s policies and practices. Biographies of “connected critics” will focus on what makes these critics committed to their society. A biography on someone who has chosen to position themselves from an outsider’s perspective will pay attention to the forces that drove the subject to choose a different path, without engaging in politics or opinion-making. Biographies of connected critics do not necessarily have to be about politicians: biographers choose to depict their subjects by underscoring their subjects’ struggles as outsiders whose opinions are eventually celebrated by the public. It is our aim to show that this type of biography is gaining popularity these days in the Netherlands.
Original languageEnglish
Article number15
Pages (from-to)633-640
Number of pages8
JournalBiography; an interdisciplinary quarterly
Volume40
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 14-Mar-2018

    Keywords

  • Biography, yearly report

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