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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 Dean invited as keynote speaker at international conference
2011-03-23

Prof. Dennis Francis, Dean of Education

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Dean of Education, Prof. Dennis Francis, has received the honour of being invited as keynote speaker at the Fourth International Conference of Education Reform (ICER).

Prof. Francis, who has already published widely in the areas of social justice education and sexuality education, will address the conference on 24 and 25 March 2011 in Luang Prabang, Laos.
 
The theme of the conference is Equality and Education. Prof. Francis will address the international audience with his speech entitled “Troubling elements of a theory of oppression that should inform the work of teachers in higher education”.
                                                                 
Prof. Francis’ keynote will address three questions, namely what challenges South African society presents to the teaching of anti-oppression, what elements of theory and pedagogy are most effective in equipping teachers and students for those challenges and what real-life experiences of teaching in the area of education for social justice can teach about pedagogy in any context where injustice and inequality prevails. He will draw on his personal experiences regarding the latter. 
 
“We need to deepen the theoretical grasp of oppression if education is to be effective in addressing social inequality. Teaching for equity and social justice education requires that we address the multiple layers of oppression that correspond with varying forms of privilege and injustice, and none of these exist in isolation.” 
 
Prof. Dennis says that he is humbled by the invitation and sees this as an opportunity to learn, grow and contribute in the area of education in social justice.


Media Release
23 March 2011
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: news@ufs.ac.za

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