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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 takes further steps to address load shedding
2015-02-24

The South African economy is experiencing its worst electricity crisis since 2008, with state power firm Eskom implementing load shedding as it struggles to meet growing demand for power.

The University of the Free State (UFS) has been planning and implementing projects to reduce the impact of load shedding since 2008. This was done primarily to ensure that the academic programme does not suffer as a result of the increasing cuts in power supply, which continued this year.

The university’s main concern is the supply of emergency power to lecture halls and laboratories.

Up to date, 35 generators are serving 55 buildings on the three campuses of the UFS. This includes 26 generators on the Bloemfontein Campus, eight on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State and one generator on the South Campus in Bloemfontein. The generators are serviced regularly and kept in a working condition.

Since 2010, the university has also ensured that all new academic buildings being built were equipped with emergency power.

On the South Campus in Bloemfontein the new lecture hall building and the Computer Laboratory are equipped with emergency power, while the installation of emergency power generators in other buildings is underway. Most of the buildings on the Qwaqwa Campus in the Eastern Free State are provided with emergency power.

“To expand on the work that have already been done, the main objective in the installation of more generators on the Bloemfontein Campus will be to ensure that lecture halls with emergency power are available on the centrally booked timetables and that more of the critical laboratories are equipped with emergency power,” said Mr Nico Janse van Rensburg, Senior Director: University Estates.

“There are still some critical buildings and venues on the Bloemfontein Campus that must be equipped with emergency power. However, this is a costly process and will have to be phased in over a period of time. The further implementation of emergency power is dependent on delivery times of equipment. The university is also looking into alternative power supply solutions, such as solar power,” he said.

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