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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

African issues the core of international conference
2016-02-19

Description: Prof Hussein Solomon Tags: Prof Hussein Solomon

Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor at the Department of Political Studies and Governance of University of the Free State (UFS), expects the Osaka University–UFS Conference to influence African policy makers.
Photo: Supplied

Scholars and policymakers are expected to map out the political, economic, social, and educational trajectory at the Annual Osaka University–University of the Free State (UFS) Conference from 22 - 23 February 2016. The State of South Africa and Conflict Resolution in Africa are the themes of the two-day conference, hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS) on the Bloemfontein Campus.

The Osaka School of International Public Policy, Japan, and UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance have invited international academics, policymakers, and stakeholders in an attempt to reflect on a new path forward for the country and the continent.

Acknowledging problems to deal with them

According to Prof Hussein Solomon, Senior Professor in Political Studies at the UFS, “the idea is not only to map out the scale and gravity of the problems confronted, but also to arrive at policy-relevant conclusions. Both Prof Virgil Hawkins of Osaka University and I have briefed, and will continue to brief, African policy makers, so hopefully they could use this information within their own organisations,” he added.

Mapping the way forward

Papers will be presented by delegates from Osaka University, University of Pretoria, Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, the Volksblad, the Free State Legislature, the Institute for Global Dialogue and Operations, Glacier by Sanlam, and the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes.

Details of event

Date: 22 and 23 February 2016
Time: 08:45-16:15 and 09:00-14:30
Place: Albert Wessels Auditorium, Bloemfontein Campus
RSVP: Ms Marichen Preller at PrellerMI@ufs.ac.za for catering purposes.

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