Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
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

Before and After Hector
2014-03-05

 

Björn Krondorfer

The apartheid years. The Anglo-Boer War. Mix these two topics together and you are ensured of a vigorous debate.

This was exactly the result at the Centenary Complex Gallery recently. During a round-table discussion, Kovsie students analysed an artwork by Gerrit Hattingh entitled “Before and After Hector”. The artwork depicts the iconic photo of Hector Pieterson – taken during the 1976 Soweto Uprising – staged as an event in the Anglo-Boer War.

The artwork functioned as the focal point at an exhibition curated by Angela de Jesus.The exhibition formed part of the International Research Forum hosted by the UFS which explored the topic of Societies in the Aftermath of Mass Trauma and Violence.

The ensuing conversation did not disappoint. The photograph evoked a wide range of views and emotions as the students reflected on the historic image representing violent and painful events of our collective past. As the students robustly exchanged their opinions, they developed strategies to support the reconciliation process. The dialogue assisted these students in formulating ways to look back at our history and use this knowledge to carry our society past traumatic experiences.

Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela, Senior Research Professor in the Office for Research on Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation, was astounded at the level of insight and wisdom the students displayed. “I am pleased that our students came to join us around the table to discuss this portrait which is iconic globally; to engage and also give their own interpretations of what they know, and what they do not know about our historical past. The dialogue about the interweaving of the Hector Pieterson photograph with the story of black victims of the British concentration camps is one of the ways of exploring the views of the younger generation in the aftermath of mass trauma and violence in our collective history,” Prof Gobodo-Madikizela concluded at the end of the conversation.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept