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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

Curtains fall on Darwin lecture series
2010-02-03

The University of the Free State (UFS), in collaboration with the Central University of Technology and the National Museum in Bloemfontein, will host the final lecture of the Charles Darwin lecture series entitled "The story of life and survival" as part of the 200-years celebration of Charles Darwin’s birthday on Thursday, 11 February 2010.

The lecture titled Trends in evolution and their bearing on the future of humankind will be presented by Prof. Bruce Rubidge and Prof. Terence McCarthy from the University of the Witwatersrand and co-authors of the book The Story of Earth and Life.

Last year, when the year-long lecture series started, several lectures were presented by academics from various departments at the UFS.
Prof. Marian Tredoux and Mr Johan Loock from the Department of Geology presented lectures on The origin of our solar system and The geological evolution of our planet: the first billion years, respectively.

"Transitions and extinctions" was the topic of another lecture presented by Dr Jennifer Botha-Brink, a paleontologist at the National Museum and affiliated to the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the UFS. She discussed the causes of mass extinctions and their effects on the world's organisms.

The Department of Genetics also made their contribution to this lecture series in the form of two lectures on the genetic foundation of evolution presented by the Head of the Department, Prof. Johan Spies and Prof. Paul Grobler, an Associate Professor in the Department.

Next followed lectures on the evolution of the information and communication technology that were presented by the Departments of Communication Science, Chemistry, Physics, and Computer Science and Informatics, which focused on communication in a manufacturing environment, the knowledge explosion and the broadband universe.

This final lecture of the series will be presented in the CR Swart Auditorium on the UFS Main Campus at 18:00. Limited seats are available and bookings can be made by contacting Ms Isabel Human at humanci@ufs.ac.za or 051 401 2427 before or on Monday, 8 February 2010.

Media Release:
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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