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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

University hosts second International winter school
2012-08-17

Participating in the Winter School on Pluralism and Development were, from the left, back: Sitirohmanatin Fitriani, Indonesia; Pallavi Mishra, India; Ajita Vidyarthi, India; Damairia Pakpahan, Indonesia; Josephine Kigozi, Uganda and Annemarte van Kruchten, The Netherlands; in the front: Dot Vermeulen, South Africa and Masabata Mokgesi, South Africa.
Photo: Linda Fekisi
17 August 2012

The University of the Free State (UFS) once again hosted the annual international winter school on Pluralism and Development. Participants from India, Indonesia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and The Netherlands attended the winter school.

The international Winter School, organised by the University of Humanistic Studies in The Netherlands was held in South-Africa, on the Bloemfontein Campus, for the first time in 2011. It is held in partnership with the International Institute for Studies in Race, Reconciliation and Social Justice.

The winter school brings together an international group of staff from civil society based organisations, activists and graduate students who engage in critical thinking about issues such as ethics, human rights, political theory, sustainable development, governance, gender and education.

Participants took part in a series of lectures, workshops and field trips. The field trips included a visit to the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg.
 

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