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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 appoints first black woman director
2006-05-03

 The Executive Management of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) has approved the appointment of Mrs Refiloe Seane as Director of Kovsie Student Counselling, and Dr Francois Strydom as Director of Student Development. 

Ms Seane is the first black woman director to be appointed at the UFS and has been acting in this position since last year.

“Mrs Seane’s appointment is the latest in a series of appointments of women in management positions at the UFS.  It signifies our commitment to create a diverse and dynamic institution of higher learning,” said Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS.

Other appointments of women in management positions include that of Prof Magda Fourie as Vice-Rector:  Academic Planning; Prof Letticia Moja as Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences; Dr Choice Makhetha as Vice-Dean:  Student Affairs and Prof Engela Pretorius as Vice-Dean: Humanities. 

Mrs Seane joined the UFS in 1997 as counselling psychologist at Kovsie Counselling.  In 2003 she was promoted to senior psychologist. She holds a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology at the UFS.

“The need for students to receive counselling is steadily on the increase.  I contribute this to the increasing challenges facing young people of today.  Some of the issues we deal with include among others personal adjustment to the university environment, learning and study skills, career guidance and developmental and psychological problems,” said Mrs Seane.

“I commit myself to develop students and prepare them for their studies and careers ahead. My aim is to improve the efficiency of counselling services at the UFS.  This will help produce balanced graduates who will become role players both nationally and internationally,” said Mrs Seane.

Dr Francois Strydom has been appointed as Head/Director for Kovsie Student Development.  Before his appointment Dr Strydom was senior lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand’s (WITS) School of Human and Community Development.  He holds a Ph D in Psychology from Oxford University, after having obtained a BA degree, BA Honours and master’s degrees in Psychology at the UFS.

“This appointment signals the elevation of the function of student development to directorate level for the first time. It reflects the commitment of the University to support students and their academic development in order to improve their academic success rates. The increase of success rates of especially black students from disadvantaged school backgrounds is a key element of the transformation process of the UFS,” said Prof Fourie.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:  (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
2 May 2006

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