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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

Statement following a protest march on the Main Campus
2006-09-07

Statement by UFS management following a protest march on the Main Campus

A protest march by a small number of SASCO members took place at the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Main Campus in Bloemfontein today (Wednesday 6 September 2006).

At the end of the protest march a memorandum was handed to the Dean of Student Affairs, Dr Natie Luyt.

The UFS Management remains committed to provide quality education to all students at the UFS. The management is also committed to the transformation of the campus and to creating a non-racial, multilingual and multicultural student life.

It must be remembered that certain processes are already in place to address some of the issues raised, such as a Transformation Plan Task Team, which is in the process of drafting a comprehensive transformation plan for the UFS.

Discussions are also already taking place between management and student structures, including SASCO, about certain issues raised in the memorandum.

However, the management will respond to the memorandum using the appropriate channels that exist on campus to communicate with all student formations, including SASCO.

The UFS management wishes to thank the SASCO members for the peaceful and non-violent way in which the protest march was conducted and for which the management had granted SASCO permission.

The UFS management appeals to SASCO to make use of the channels that exist to address the concerns of their members and find workable solutions in the interest of a quality university and quality student life.

Media release
Issued by: Anton Fisher
Director: Strategic Communication
Cell: 072 207 8334
6 September 2006

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