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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

New electoral body for student elections
2004-07-24

The University of the Free State (UFS) has appointed the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa (EISA) to handle the upcoming election of the Student Representative Council (SRC) and Student Parliament on the main campus.

"EISA specialises in elections and have done vast research on the subject"said Dr Natie Luyt, acting Dean: Student Affairs at the UFS.

Dr Luyt said that the UFS wanted an electoral body that can act as neutral and objective as possible. "EISA is a credible electoral body with the necessary knowledge and expertise. We have full confidence that they will ensure a free and fair election on campus"said Dr Luyt.

"EISA is a neutral party and our main aim is to promote democracy through the process of elections"said Mr Seth Phamuli, Chief Electoral Officer of EISA's UFS election campaign.

Mr Phamuli said that EISA has handled the SRC and Council elections of several other tertiary institutions in the country. These include among others the University of the Witwatersrand , the University of the North, Unitra, Wits Technicon, Vista and Pretoria Technicon. "EISA also acts as the secretariat for the Southern African Developing Countries (SADC) as far as elections are concerned and manages the election processes of various parastatal bodies in the country"said Mr Phamuli.

No changes to the constitution of the SRC have been made for this year's election. "The UFS Council decided last year that any changes to the constitution of the SRC should be submitted for consideration by the Council meeting which took place in June. However, the amendments were submitted late - after the closing date for agenda items to be added"said Dr Luyt.

The elections on the main campus will take place on 11 August 2004 .


MEDIA RELEASE
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za 25 Julie 2004

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