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22 August 2018
Prof Coetzee is retelling old stories in a new book
"Failing to Learn Doomed to repeat" was one of the bookworks on display.

The title of Prof Jan K Coetzee’s latest book, Books & Bones & Other Things, says it all. The book looks into the many aspects that have built our society by presenting in a new way the stories contained in old books collected over the years. 

Prof Coetzee is a Senior Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Free State (UFS). Books & Bones & Other Things was launched on 14 August 2018 and coincided with an exhibition of various “bookworks”   art installations by Prof Coetzee that feature old books, sculptures, artefacts, and fossils.
 
Book resulting from research programme 
   

“This is a book on books so the library is the perfect venue to launch a book on old texts as documents of life,” said Prof Coetzee.

For the past seven years he has been directing a Master’s and PhD programme in Sociology called The Narrative Study of Lives. His project, Documents of Life, from which this book came, focuses on a collection of old texts the oldest of which dates back to 1605.

“We live in storytelling societies and for as long as we can remember we have been telling stories. Over time the ability to produce books was born. Any collection of books can tell you a lot about your own life and the society you live in."

“I cannot read the stories of many of these old books because their narratives are closed. I have to re-narrate the books, change the narrative convention and present them in a way that makes sense to me. By combining the books with art and artefacts I want the books to tell their ancient stories in new ways.”

Book launches and intellectual discussions

At the book launch, Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research said: “What we have achieved with this launch and exhibition is unbelievable. We always try to create an intellectual space in the library.

“A book such as this is the pinnacle of an academic career. It is multidisciplinary and it looks at the world in a different way. That is what scholarship is about.”

A painting by Robert Hodgins was also handed over to the Johannes Stegmann Gallery, home of the corporate collection of the UFS, at the event. 

News Archive

Prof Loyiso Jita appointed as UFS Dean of Education
2017-11-22

 Description: Prof Melanie Walker, Research chair into Higher Education gets boost for five more years Tags: Prof Melanie Walker, Research chair into Higher Education gets boost for five more years

Prof Loyiso Jita, UFS Dean of Education
Photo: Johan Roux

The Council of the University of the Free State (UFS) has approved the appointment of Prof Loyiso Jita as Dean of Education during its quarterly meeting held on the Bloemfontein Campus on 17 November 2017.

“Prof Jita has a strong academic background and a good understanding of the higher-education sector. I look forward to working with him and to realise the vision of the university as a research-led, student-centred and regionally engaged university that contributes to development and social justice through the production of globally competitive graduates and knowledge,” says Prof Francis Petersen, UFS Rector and Vice-Chancellor.

“It is indeed a privilege for me to lead a team of committed teachers and researchers in the faculty, providing excellent service to our undergraduate and postgraduate students. I thank the Council and executive management for their trust in me,” says Prof Jita.

In January 2017, Prof Jita was appointed as the Acting Dean of the Faculty of Education at the UFS. He will assume the position of Dean of the Faculty of Education on 1 December 2017.

Prof Jita began his career as a Science and Mathematics teacher, after graduating from Wits University in 1988. He later took up a lectureship position at the University of Zululand, where he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to read for a PhD at Michigan State University in the USA. In the mid-1990s, he worked as a policy researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal where he, among others, helped to compile the submission on the Violation of Educational Rights of South Africans during apartheid, to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

He joined the University of Pretoria (UP) in 2001, after returning from a post-doctoral fellowship at the Northwestern University in Chicago, and was later appointed Director of the Joint Centre for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education (JCSMTE). He left the UP in 2008 for an appointment as an associate professor at the University of South Africa (Unisa), where he later became the inaugural Director of the School of Education. In 2011, he became a full professor and was appointed as the acting Deputy Executive Dean in the College of Human Sciences at Unisa.

In 2012, he joined the UFS as Research Professor in the School of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Technology Education. In November 2014, he was appointed as the SANRAL Chair for Science and Mathematics Education. Professor Jita has published many articles on instructional leadership, teacher development and change, Science and Mathematics education, and has presented over 50 papers at local and international conferences. He has also supervised to completion more than 37 master’s and PhD graduates, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the accredited journal, Perspectives in Education (PIE).

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