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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. 

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First lecture in Law Dean's series presented
2010-10-22

Prof. Johan Henning, Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS and Prof. Johan Farrar, a well respected Corporate Law Specialist, at the recent first lecture in the Law Dean’s Prestige Lecture Series.
Photo: Lize du Plessis
Prof. John Farrar, a well respected Corporate Law Specialist of high international repute, delivered the first lecture in the Law Dean’s Prestige Lecture Series at the University of the Free State (UFS). The theme of his paper was Directors’ duties of care – Issues of classification, solvency and business judgement and the dangers of legal transplants.

The topic is of the utmost importance to South African lawyers in view of the very contentious provisions of the new Companies Act 71 of 2008 endeavouring to introduce the business judgement rule into South African Company Law if and thus reforming company directors’ common law duties of care and skill, if when this legislation at long last becomes operative.

Prof. Farrar is a professor of Corporate Governance at the University of Auckland Business School, and joint director of the New Zealand Governance Centre. These are part-time roles and the remainder of his time is spent as emeritus professor of Law at Bond University, Queensland.

Prof. Farrar has extensive experience in Commercial Law Reform, having, for example, acted as a consultant to the New Zealand Treasury, the Law Commission, the Business Council of Australia and the UK Department of Trade and Industry.

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