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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

Kovsies keep it green and clean
2012-09-10

Learners from surrounding schools do their bit for the environment taking part in the first ever Green Festival hosted on the Bloemfontein Campus.
10 September 2012

Celebrating all things green, the University of the Free State (UFS)’s first Green Festival started with a bang with the initiative being nominated for a national Eco-Logic Award.

The festival, hosted on Saturday 8 September 2012, drew the attention of a panel of highly respected environmentally aware individuals who selected the green initiative as one of five finalists in the recycling category of the Eco-logic awards. The awards are hosted in association with SABC3 and the university was selected out of nearly three hundred entries. The university will now compete with other finalists at a gala dinner at the Cradle of Humankind on 27 September 2012.

With learners from surrounding high schools who were invited to help clean parts of the city, the Bloemfontein Campus was abuzz with activity on Saturday. Staff and students from the university joined learners in taking part in activities such as the Green Film Festival where documentary movies on environmental issues were screened. Stalls and exhibitions displayed sustainable green materials and organic food. Residences took part in a body-painting competition to raise awareness about going green.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor, delivered a Green Festival address and praised Kovsie students for taking the lead in going green.“Our country’s future depends on us caring for the environment,” he told learners and students. “If we don’t take care of the environment, we will all be gone. It is about the next generation, about what we leave for the children.”
 

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