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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

Inaugural lecture focuses on intercultural communication
2005-03-15

Prof Johann de Wet, chairperson of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Communication and Information Studies, will deliver his inaugural lecture on Wednesday 16 March 2005 at 19:00 in the CR Swart Auditorium on campus.

The topic of the presentation is Meeting on the “narrow ridge” in intercultural communication.

Prof de Wet obtained the BA degree in 1977 at from the University of Cape Town, in 1982 an honors degree cum laude in Journalism from the University of  Stellenbosch, in 1985 an MA degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and in 1987 the D Litt Et Phil, also from UNISA.

His earlier professional life included being a diplomat stationed in Washington DC, and a SABC journalist.

Prof de Wet’s first stint in the academe was at UNISA (1983-1993) and the UFS (1993-1995).  He was an associate professor at both institutions.  Before returning to the UFS in 2001, Prof de Wet was director of communication in the public service, ministerial spokesperson at national and provincial levels, contributing editor of the Cape Argus, and communication consultant for various public and private sector institutions.

In his academic career of 16 years, Prof de Wet has authored/edited 12 scholarly books.  His other research outputs include some 20 accredited articles and scientific papers (national and international) respectively.  Much of his research has focused on persuasive and political communication, journalism and general communication theory. 

He is the founding and current editor of Communitas, a nationally-accredited academic journal on community communication and information impact.  He was appointed professor and chairperson of the Department of Communication and Information Studies at the UFS in January 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
15 March 2005

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