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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 research on yeast nanorobotics
2006-05-09

Ten members from the University of the Free State's (UFS) Lipid Biotechnology Research Group in the Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology will be presenting their research  on yeast nanorobotics (nanotechnology) at three international conferences in Europe during May and June 2006.

 

It is one of the biggest group of students from the department to present their research overseas.  

The conferences to be attended include the 2nd International Conference on Non Mammalian Eicosanoids, Bioactive Lipids and Plant Oxylipins held in Berlin, Germany; the 3rd European Conference on Computational Mechanics (ECCM-2006) held in Lisbon, Portugal and the 25th International Specialised Symposium on Yeasts (ISSY 2006) held in Helsinki, Finland.  The UFS Lipid Biotechnology Group is also co-organising the conference in Berlin.

The group members are in front from the left Ms Chantel Swart (M Sc student), Ms Ntsoaki Leeuw (M Sc student) and Ms Monique Goldblatt (M Sc student).
Middle from the left Mr Olihile Sebolai (Ph D student and recipient of the Free State Premier Excellence Award), Ms Ané van Heerden (M Sc student) and Dr Catrine Strauss (post-doctoral student).
At the back are from the left Mr Desmond Ncango (M Sc), Dr Carlien Pohl (Senior Researcher), Prof Pieter van Wyk (Head: UFS Center for Confocal and Electron Microscopy) and Prof Lodewyk Kock (Head: UFS Lipid Biotechnology Group).
Photo: Stephen Collett

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