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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

Kovsie alumni honoured
2012-09-10

Mr Mickey Gordon, Head of Marketing at the UFS, with Jaco Loubser (right), Kovsie Alumnus of the Year.
Photo: Dries Myburg
10 September 2012
 

Jaco Loubser, the producer of television programmes such as Shoreline on SABC and Groen, Roer and MK Kampus on kykNET has been named as the Kovsie Alumnus of the Year by the University of the Free State (UFS). Loubser and five other Kovsie alumni were honoured for outstanding achievements and contributions at the Kovsie Alumni Awards held on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Jaco, who obtained a master’s degree in Zoology from the UFS, received the award for outstanding achievements on national and international level for his contribution to and development of the South African film and television industry.

Prof. Stephen Brown, Associate Professor in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and Prof. Hennie Theron, Associate Professor in the Department of Cardiology, received the Cum Laude Award for exceptional service for a specific profession. Profs. Brown and Theron were recognised as pioneers in the development and application of medical technology, as well as for their pioneering work in paediatric care.

The Kovsie Alumni Awards for outstanding service to the UFS was also shared by two people, namely Prof. Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, and Advocate Wessels Oosthuizen, Director of the Centre for Financial Planning Law at the UFS. The Kovsie Ambassador’s Award went to Prof. Matie Hoffman, Associate Professor in the Department of Physics.

Jaco thanked Prof. Hoffman in his speech and said it was good to share the stage with one of his former lecturers. Jaco, who has received numerous awards for his television programmes, said the Kovsie Alumni Award was unexpected and it was a great honour to receive it from his alma mater.
 

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