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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

School dropouts are more vulnerable to HIV
2010-02-02

 Prof. Dennis Francis

Children who drop out of school miss out on information about HIV/Aids and reproduction health, according to research conducted by Prof. Dennis Francis, Dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of the Free State.

The research entitled “Towards understanding the way out-of-school youth respond to HIV/Aids” included out-of-school youths as researchers and identified key issues and problems facing them. It covered youths between the ages of 14 to 18.

The study, funded by the Medical Research Council of South Africa, showed that schools played a vital role in providing credible information on HIV/Aids and ways to prevent it.

It also found that these out-of-school youths believed that HIV/Aids was a non-issue and deliberately avoided the subject, with boys being the main culprits.

The researchers found that these youths got their information on HIV/Aids from friends, community healthcare workers, religious leaders, family and other youngsters. The way they responded to HIV/Aids varied and often depended on their social context, effects on their self esteem and sense of power, according to Prof. Francis.

They also discovered that knowledge about HIV/Aids did not necessarily translate into action.

“School-going youth displayed similar difficulties in applying knowledge in real-life situations and lacked the tools for doing so,” he said. “But, unlike school-going youth, out-of-school youth did not have the option of using the school environment to speak about misconceptions.”

These finding will be presented at the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organisation-funded Hope 2010 Conference in India.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za  
2 February 2010

 

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