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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

UFS hosts delegation of University of Minnesota
2008-08-13

 

 During the visit of a senior delegation of the University of Minnesota to the University of the Free State (UFS) were Prof. Herman van Schalkwyk (left), Dean: Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the UFS, and Prof. Robert Jones, Senior Vice-President: System Academic Administration at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Van Schalkwyk initiated the current cooperation agreement between the two institutions.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
 

 UFS hosts delegation of University of Minnesota

A senior delegation from the University of Minnesota in the United States of America (USA) visited the University of the Free State (UFS) this week to explore ways of strengthening already existing ties between the two institutions.

According to Dr Aldo Stroebel, Head of Internationalisation at the UFS, teacher training, capacity building in health sciences, and student preparedness will be among the areas of co-operation that will be investigated, within the context of the Strategic Academic Cluster initiative of the UFS. Poverty reduction strategies will also be a strong focus area.

“The UFS has had a cooperation agreement with the University of Minnesota’s department of agricultural economics since 1997 and the exchange of staff has been taking place on a regular basis,” said Dr Stroebel.

This agreement will be expanded and both institutions are now exploring the possibility of applying it across faculties.

According to Dr Stroebel, the visit was very successful and both institutions have committed seed funding to formalise the cooperation agreement.


Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
13 August 2008
 

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