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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

Harmony contributes to Right to Learn campaign
2016-04-28


Harmony, a residence on the Bloemfontein Campus of the University of the Free State, recently made a contribution to the Right to Learn campaign. From left is: Tiisetso Magampe, Residence Assistant Finance at Harmony, Pulane Malefane, Harmony Residence Head, Sikhulekile (SK) Luwaca, Student Representative Council (SRC) Associations, and Johan Diedericks, Harmony SRC Guardian. Photo: Palesa Matsolo.

Harmony, a residence of the University of the Free State (UFS), recently used a breakfast for academic achievement to also make a contribution to the Right to Learn Campaign. The first-year residence on the Bloemfontein Campus of the UFS donated R6 300 to the campaign, which was started in response to the dire need for financial relief for academically deserving students from underprivileged backgrounds.

 

On 9 April 2016, the event was concluded with a Right to Learn poem and the handover of a cheque to the Student Representative Council (SRC) towards the campaign. The SRC launched the Right to Learn campaign on 30 October 2015 as a supplementary initiative to the #FeesMustFall movement. The proceeds will be channelled towards reducing the number of students who will face de-registration in 2016, to the SRC textbook bursary, and to food bursaries.

 

According to Pulane Malefane, Head of Harmony Residence, the breakfast was held to celebrate the academic achievements of the residence. Harmony prides itself on academic excellence, and instils this value into its first years at the beginning of the year.

The best academic achievers were recognised, according to their performance during matric. This was done in order to encourage the students to keep on excelling at university.

Harmony also acknowledged its student leaders motivating the first–year students.

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