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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

Protecting women and children - top on the agenda for women in law
2015-02-24

Judge Soma Naidoo
Photo: Hanno Otto

The Faculty of Law in collaboration with the International Association of Women Judges (IAWJ) hosted a gala dinner with the theme: ‘Protect a woman, protect a child’ on 14 February 2015 at the UFS Centenary Complex.

In attendance were leading South African women judges and members of the IAWJ’s Justices: Halima Sulduker of the Supreme Court of Appeal, Connie Mocumi of the Free State High Court, and Soma Naidoo of the Free State High Court . The UFS was represented by the Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Caroline Nicholson and other senior faculty members. The keynote address was presented by Prof Beatri Kruger.

The title of the keynote speech, ’Killing human trafficking in South Africa: chaos, challenges and celebrations’, was inspired by the extensive research which Prof Kruger has been doing over recent years on human trafficking. “Human trafficking is not just another crime; it is complex, multi-layered and extends over international borders and continents. It is often disguised and has many faces –from trafficking for labour to sexual exploitation; mutilation of body parts, forced marriages, drug couriering; the list is endless. New forms of human trafficking are revealed continuously,” she said.

‘Protect a woman, protect a child’ (read the full story)

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