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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

Students launch Water Collection Campaign for the province
2016-02-10

Description: 2016 02 Water Project Tags: Water Project
Caption: Water is life: give life by donating water.
Photo: Supplied.

Drought conditions have long been part of the Free State way of life. At present, water supplies are running at an all-time low. Immediate mass action needs to be taken.

In an attempt to win the battle against the water crisis currently affecting the Free State, students here at the University of the Free State (UFS) have launched the Water Collection Campaign, which is running from 8-12 February 2016.

The UFS Muslim Student Association (MSA) and the Central Student Representative Council (CSRC), in partnership with Gift of the Givers Foundation, are urging fellow students and staff members on the Bloemfontein Campus to donate five litres of bottled still water.

“We urge students to take part in this campaign, and help us help those who are in dire need of this vital necessity. Share water, save a life!” said Muhammed Bhamjee, President of MSA.

Make a donation

Date:  8-11 February 2016

Time:  07:45-16:30

Place: SRC offices reception, Thakaneng Bridge.

On Friday 12 February 2016, donations may be made at the Centenary Complex from 15:00-17:00.


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