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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

Mid-year prize-giving ceremony for UPP and Extended Programme students
2012-09-20

Prof. Neil Heideman, Dean of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, with top achiever Buyisani Masabalala.
20 September 2012

With a subject percentage of 94% in Chemistry and 89% in Mathematics, Buyisani Masabalala is at the top of his class. The student, who is part of the University Preparation Programme (UPP) offered on the South Campus of the University of the Free State, was named top student in the Natural Sciences for students in the programme.

Buyisani and 28 other students on the UPP and Extended Degree programme, received certificates at a prize-giving ceremony held on the South Campus. They were top performers during their first six months in all subjects on the UPP and Extended Degree programme. The UPP is a one-year bridging programme for students who do not meet the initial admission requirements for mainstream studies at a university. The extended degree programme caters for students who do meet mainstream university admission requirements but have a lower admission score.

With their excellent results, Buyisani and the other top achievers are now one step away from entrance into mainstream studies. They are now awaiting their final results that will be out at the end of the year. As an incentive to study even harder, the UPP top achievers in the Faculties of Humanities, Economic and Management Sciences, Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Agricultural Sciences and Education will each receive a bursary at the end of the year. The same applies for top achievers in the B Com and BSc Extended Programme and the Vocational Directed Preparation Programme top achievers.

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