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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

Green Fest on Saturday 8 September 2012
2012-08-31

The university will host its first Green Festival on Saturday 8 September 2012. The festival will focus on protecting and sustaining natural resources for current and future generations.

The university has invited Grade 9 to 11 learners from 41 schools around Bloemfontein to participate in cleaning up the city. The learners and Kovsie students will clean the streets around the Bloemfontein campus. The clean-up teams will meet on the campus in the vicinity of Mooimeisiesfontein; whereafter the rubbish collected will be sorted and taken to the Rat Race recycling company.

Other activities for the day include a Green Quiz that will help educate learners and students about green issues. Coca Cola will sponsor the prizes for the festival, as well as the food and drinks for all the learners invited to the festival. The learners will visit 20 stalls and exhibitions of sustainable green materials and organic food on the Red Square. Documentary movies with green themes on environmental issues will be screened.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the university, has urged everyone to participate in the Green Festival.

The programme for the day starts at 09:00 with buses taking learners to the respective pick-up spots. Prof. Jansen will deliver a Green Fest Speech at 11:45 in front of the Main Building. Other activities include the Green Quiz, Green Movie festival and music items.
 

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