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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

‘Global financial crisis is far from over’
2012-09-09

At the lecture were, from the left: Dr Arno van Niekerk (Department of Economy), Dr Francois Strydom (Centre for Teaching and Learning), Dr Mallory du Plooy (UFS101), Ms Gill Marcus, Governor of the Reserve Bank, and Lauren Hing and Louise Strydom of the UFS101 office.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar.
6 September 2012

The global financial crisis the world has been experiencing since 2008 is far from over. In fact, Gill Marcus, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, expects it to last for the next five years. “It is the longest financial crisis in history,” she said.

Ms Marcus lectured in the new UFS101 course of the university. The course was implemented at the beginning of the year and is aimed at broadening the world for new first-year students. About 2 000 students are taking the course.

Ms Marcus brought globalisation home and explained how activities in the international area impact on the lives of South Africans. She said South Africa was not excluded from the effect of global crises. Ms Marcus also said that South Africa was one of only a few countries in the world not experiencing a banking crisis due to strict controls in place, but more could be done.

“The big question is how to make sure that the South African banking system stays sound,” she said.

On a question about the debt of South Africans, she said it was important for South Africans to live within their means. “If we want to afford our new development, we need a savings percentage of 25 percent.” South Africa needs foreign capital investment to supplement the low local savings.

“It is difficult to resist all aspects of globalisation. Some can be to our advantage, but the others pose tremendous challenges.”

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