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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 takes the lead in solar heating in the Free State
2010-06-03

In the “engine room” of the solar heating system of the Vergeet-my-nie Residence with the big hot water tanks in the background. From the left are Mr Anton Calitz, Electrical Engineer of the UFS, and Mr Nico Janse van Renburg, Manager: Physical Planning at the UFS.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar


The University of the Free State (UFS) took a further step in reducing its carbon footprint and its dependency on coal fired electricity with the installation of a solar heating system at one of its residences. The contractor handed the system over to the UFS on Wednesday, 2 June 2010.

The system installed at the Vergeet-my-nie Residence is the first commercial solar water heating project in both Bloemfontein and at the UFS. It is estimated that it will provide in 70% of the residence’s energy needs and save approximately R101 000 per annum in electricity cost. The project was completed at a cost of R2,4 million.

More residences at the UFS will be refurbished with solar systems as the existing heating systems in the rest of the twenty residences are due for replacement.

The energy crisis of 2008, and the challenges and necessity to reduce the use of electricity, sparked the initiative around the installation of solar heating systems at the UFS. The UFS is the second largest energy user in Bloemfontein.

Mr Nico Janse van Rensburg, Manager: Physical Planning at the UFS, says the management of the UFS saw an opportunity in the crisis and pro-actively embarked to become a market leader. Solar heating would not only alleviate the electricity problem of South Africa, but will impact the ever increasing electricity bill of the UFS.

“Protecting the environment and being on the cutting edge of technology are core issues to the UFS,” says Janse van Rensburg. “We are an educational institution and take pride in practicing what we preach.”

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (acting)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
3 June 2010
 

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