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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

Postgraduate School and Faculty of Law receive Rector during discussion with emerging researchers
2012-09-11

A session of the special programme for upcoming researchers was attended by, from the left: Denine Smit, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Prof. Voet du Plessis of the Department of Mercantile Law and Marda Horn; back: Glancina Mokone, Albert Nell, Pieter Brits, Prof. Neil Roos, Director of the UFS’s Postgraduate School and Jamie Faber.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
11 September 2012

 Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the university, recently addressed six Ph.D. students and their supervisors in the Faculty of Law as part of a special programme of the Postgraduate School for emerging researchers. Prof. Jansen contextualised his lecture on the impact and significance of research, “How do you determine that the important and bigger questions in your research are addressed to ensure the impact thereof?” in his discussion with the researchers. Based on the model of international postgraduate seminars, the researchers set out their field of study to Prof. Jansen and the audience. Suggestions were then made on how to increase the intellectual impact and theoretical depth of academic argumentation.

According to Prof. Neil Roos, Director of the Postgraduate School, together with Prof. Jackie du Toit and Prof. Corli Witthuhn, Academic Coordinators for the Vice Chancellor’s Prestige Scholar Programme, the aim of the programme is to provide support to emerging researchers on postgraduate level similar to the Prestige Scholar Programme.

“The initiative is being rolled out in a faculty-specific way. In consultation with the deans, the specific needs in the faculty are determined, which in turn determines the approach,” says Prof. Roos.

The six students are all involved at the university in various capacities, and are studying towards a Ph.D. in Law. They are outstanding candidates who are being funded by the Postgraduate School in order to empower postgraduate students to greater reach, internationalisation and the establishment of long-term academic networks. The programme is coordinated in the Faculty of Law by Prof. Loot Pretorius.

Two upcoming researchers in the Faculty of Theology and one in Nursing joined the group for Prof. Jansen’s lecture on significant research.

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