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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

UFS Partner in Major DfID African Project
2012-09-26

This three-year initiative focuses on promoting and creating awareness of research uptake through the use of benchmarking between universities in similar regions. The multimillion Rand partnership is funded by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfID).

The project is headed by a partnership between the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU), the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology (CREST) at Stellenbosch University, and Organisation Systems Design (OSD), a South African-based consultancy specialising in research management and capacity building sectors in Africa.

DRUSSA aims to build a socially interactive community of organisations who focus their research efforts on impacting policy and practice in their countries and to promote the dissemination of poverty reduction research beyond the academic domain.

The first benchmarking session of all 24 universities was held in Johannesburg during June, resulting in the development of the first benchmarking report on research uptake in Africa in August.Many capacity building opportunities are also funded through this initiative www.drussa.net.

The institutional representatives at UFS are Prof Aldo Stroebel (stroebea@ufs.ac.za) and Dr Sonja Loots at (lootss@ufs.ac.za).
 

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