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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 residences for Qwaqwa Campus
2010-02-17

Rev Hosiah Nkoana
Photo: Mangaliso Radebe.


The Qwaqwa Campus of the University of the Free State will have new residences before the end of this year to ease the growing demand for student accommodation.

According to the Deputy Director of Housing and Residence Affairs at the Qwaqwa campus, Rev Hosiah Nkoana (pictured), the university is spending a lot of money on the rent and maintenance of the residences of the former colleges of education, Tshiya and Bonamelo, that the university has been using since 2004 to accommodate students.

The construction of these new residences will be carried out in two phases.

“The first phase will be university-funded and the residences will accommodate 200 students, male and female. The second phase will be a private development by a private developer. The residences in this phase of construction will accommodate 500 students – and this will be its first phase. It will then be followed by a second phase, depending on the demand for accommodation,” said Rev Nkoana.

“These residences will not necessarily be state-of-the-art residences but they will have good facilities that will underwrite our approach that residences are not just sleeping places.”

“We are developing a philosophy of turning our residences into learning and living areas. So, to get there we are going to put up a computer lab with 100-150 computers between the residences so that all resident students can access them to enhance the learning side of residence life. I hope this will change the way our students see residences,” he said.

Currently the residences at the Qwaqwa Campus can accommodate 770 students. The new residences are expected to be ready for occupation in the 2011 academic year.

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

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