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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 hosts Fulbright senior specialist
2010-06-14

Pictured from the left, are: Prof. Aldo Stroebel (Director: International Affairs), Prof. Daryl Smith, Ms Dineo Gaofhiwe (Manager: International Research Funding Opportunities, UFS) and Mr John Samuel (Interim Director: the Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, UFS).

The University of the Free State (UFS) has, for the past month, hosted Prof. Daryl Smith, Professor of Education and Psychology at Claremont Graduate University in the United States of America (USA), as a senior Fulbright specialist. She was hosted by the Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice, under the leadership of Mr John Samuel, who is its Interim Director. She helped in developing and establishing the research agenda of the institute.

A series of policy briefs and research papers will emanate from Prof. Smith’s tenure at the UFS, complemented by work of three additional Fulbright senior specialists who are joining the UFS early in the second semester. Prof. Smith met with various role-players and stakeholders in the domain of social justice, institutional change, transformation and diversity management, and will continue her association with the UFS at both the Institute and the Faculty of Education, in collaboration with its Dean, Prof. Dennis Francis.

Prof. Smith’s current research, teaching, and publications have been in the areas of diversity in higher education, leadership change, organisational implications of diversity, governance, and assessment and evaluation. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology and Higher Education at Claremont Graduate University, her M.A. from Stanford University, and her B.A. in Mathematics from Cornell University.

Amongst many specialist missions, Prof. Smith served as part of two US delegations to the Ford Foundation-sponsored tri-national conferences (India, South Africa, US) on campus diversity in higher education that have taken place in South Africa and the United States. Her most recent book, Diversity’s Promise for Higher Education: Making it Work, is available from Johns Hopkins University Press.

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