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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 council approves guidelines for reconfiguration of Vista Campus
2005-03-15

Human resource development (teaching and training) will be the primary aim of services to be rendered at the reconfigured Vista campus of the University of the Free State (UFS).

This in-principle decision forms part of a set of guidelines for the strategic reconfiguration of the Vista campus in Bloemfontein that was recently approved by the UFS Council.  The Vista campus was incorporated into the UFS in January 2004.

“One of the most important aspects that resulted from these guidelines is that we have come to a point where I can say that the future of staff at Vista is not dependant on the strategic reconfiguration of the campus.  Vista staff members will stay staff of the UFS and are being integrated into the functions of the main campus,” said Prof Magda Fourie, Vice-Rector:  Academic Planning at the UFS.

“According to the guidelines, the reconfiguration of the Vista campus must occur within the ambit of the UFS as a single institution with three campuses,” said Prof Fourie.

The UFS is currently offering two activities on the Vista campus – the regional Centre for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) and the Sesotho Language Research and Development Centre. 

According to Prof Fourie no duplication of services or programmes being rendered on the main campus in Bloemfontein will take place.  In the guidelines suggestions are made that the Vista campus could be used for activities that are currently offered on the main campus (eg short learning programmes), new UFS activities (mainly of a developmental and entrepreneurial nature), cooperative partnership ventures with other role-players and the renting of facilities for education and training purposes. 

“However, no definite decisions have been made about these possible activities – the necessary consultation process with relevant stakeholders and role-players must first take place.  A consultative forum for this will be established early in the second term of this year,” said Prof Fourie.

 “We are excited about the possibilities that have arised from the guidelines as it fits in with our vision to utilise new resources for education and training and to contribute to higher education in the Free State.  This will also contribute to the development of human resources as a propelling force in the Central Region,” said Prof Fourie.
 

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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