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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 celebrates research excellence
2016-02-25

Description: UFS celebrates research excellence Tags: UFS celebrates research excellence

Researchers at the university were acknowledged for their new research ratings. From the left are: Prof Johann de Wet, Department of Communication Sciences; Prof Naomi Morgan, Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French; Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research; Prof André Pelser, Department of Sociology; Dr Trudi O’Neill, Department of Microbial, Biochemical and Food Biotechnology; and Prof Riaz Seedat, Department Otorhinolaryngology.

During a recent gala occasion, the University of the Free State (UFS) acknowledged 15 of its researchers who received new ratings from the National Research Foundation (NRF).

According to Prof Corli Witthuhn, Vice-Rector: Research at the UFS, 37 applications have already been received for the next round of ratings by the NRF. In recent years, the university has experienced an increase in the rating of its researchers as the result of raised academic standards. These are in line with the Academic Project of the UFS. The UFS has 125 rated researchers in total.

The 15 recipients of new ratings from the NRF in 2015,are:

- Dr Tanya Beelders, Computer Science: Y2
- Dr Andrew Cohen, History: Y1
- Prof Pieter de Villiers, Theology: C2
- Prof Johann de Wet, Communication: C3
- Dr Angelinus Franke, Agriculture: C2
- Prof Jonathan Jansen, Education: B1
- Prof Riaan Luyt, Chemistry: B3
- Prof Naomi Morgan, Linguistics: C2
- Dr Trudi O’Neill, Microbiology: C1
- Prof André Pelser, Sociology: C3
- Dr Johann Rossouw, Philosophy: C2
- Prof Riaz Seedat, Health: C3
- Dr Jakub Urbaniak, Theology: Y2
- Dr Martin van Zyl, Mathematics: C3
- Prof Sue Walker, Soil, Crop and Climate Sciences: C1

The UFS also celebrated its five SARChI research chairs during this event. The main goal of the research chairs is to promote research excellence.

The five research chairs at the UFS are all established at Tier 1. Research chairs in the Tier 1 category are based on the researcher's research track record, as well as on the training record of his/her postgraduate and postdoctoral students.  Tier 1 research chairs are awarded to established researchers who are leaders in their field, and whose work is recognised internationally.

The following research chairs have been awarded to the UFS since 2013:

- Solid State Luminescent and Advanced Materials, Prof Hendrik Swart in the Department of Physics (2013-2017)
- Disease Resistance and Quality in Field Crops, Prof Maryke Labuschagne (2016-2020)
- Higher Education and Human Development, Prof Melanie Walker (2013-2017)
- Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Pathogens, Prof Felicity Burt (2016-2020)
- Humanities without Borders: Trauma, History and Memory (2016-2020) 

 

 

 

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