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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 offers first structured Master’s degree in Social Cohesion and Reconciliation in South Africa
2015-06-26

The University of the Free State’s (UFS) Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice (IRSJ) will offer the first structured Master’s degree in Social Cohesion and Reconciliation in South Africa from 2016.

This unique degree – MRecon&SocCoh – will advance scholarship and practice in the fields of Reconciliation, Social Cohesion, and Social Justice. This programme responds to various challenges facing contemporary societies regionally, nationally, and internationally, as expressed in the South African National Development Plan (NDP).

The programme is open to all students with background studies in the Economic, Management, Natural, Social, and Health Sciences, as well as students with qualifications in the Humanities, Law, Education, and Theology. Students and practitioners in the heritage, development, human rights, transitional justice, and peace sectors, as well as candidates from the cultural and creative industries, will also benefit from this degree.

This programme is ideally suited for persons working in public and private institutions, community and non-governmental organisations, social movements, regional and transnational structures, and those pursuing careers across a variety of social-justice-related fields.

For more information on admission requirements, the structure of the degree, costs, and how to apply, please visit http://institute.ufs.ac.za or contact Joe Besigye at besigyejb@ufs.ac.za; Dr Willy Nel at nelwn@ufs.ac.za; or Professor André Keet at keeta@ufs.ac.za.

Closing date for applications: 31 August 2015

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