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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

Farewell to the Class of 2015
2016-12-07

Description:Class of 2015 Tags: Class of 2015 longdesc=


Some of the students from the Class of 2015

The First Year Leadership for Change programme (F1 L4C) hosted its final graduation ceremony for the class of 2015.

Launched in 2010, the programme gives first-year students international exposure to top universities across the world, providing invaluable opportunities to explore the concepts of transformational leadership, global citizenship and social cohesion.

The 32 students and six staff mentors visited various universities which included, New York University, Rutgers University, Edmonds Community College and Washington University ­- all in the US, Mahasarakham University in Thailand and Vrije University in the Netherlands.

Making a change through critical thinking

Pura Mgolombane, Dean of Student Affairs at the University of the Free State (UFS), challenged the students to think about making a change and to critically think about themselves and how they see the world.

The graduation function, which took place on 16 November 2016, saw the class of 2015 come together to celebrate their accomplishments over the year and allowed the class representative, Tammy Fray, to reflect on all of the valuable lessons learnt.

Special announcement to end the evening

Throughout the evening, representatives from previous years testified to the impact the programme had on their personal development, leadership pathways and their learning communities. The audience was charmed with a song by Stefan Lotter, current chair of the F1 Fellowship Association, and the Delicate Artistry Band.

The evening ended with a special word by Prof Nicky Morgan, acting Rector of the UFS, who convinced by alumni’s testimonies, acknowledged what the exceptional programme had delivered over the past six years. Although it was at the end of its lifetime, he said that in review, ideas emerging from the programme should be explored to give birth to something new.  Watch this space!

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